20 November 1998

Bucks tenancies threat

MANY of the 141 tenant farms in Bucks could be sold because the cash-strapped county council needs to raise millions of £s.

Chairman of the councils environmental services, Bill Chapple, said the sale could raise up to £20m.

Originally the council had considered selling all its farms, but the Tenant Farmers Association intervened and questioned the legality of such a move on the grounds that the council had an obligation to retain some farms for new entrants.

"It is difficult to say how many farms will be sold off now, but existing tenants will be given first refusal to buy their farms," said Mr Chapple. But he warned that the council had an obligation to sell farms at the maximum price offered.

"What we wont be doing is issuing any new lifetime tenancies. All will be short-term tenancies to give us the option of reviewing tenancies more frequently. This will also ensure a certain proportion of farms are available for new entrants," said Mr Chapple.

George Dunn, TFA chief executive, said the association planned to meet Bucks county council again on Nov 30 and would express its concerns and continue to investigate the legal issues involved. &#42