Boy’s heartfelt plea to save family dairy farm

Nigel, Archie and Bernard Holliday

Nigel Holliday, centre, with son Archie, left, and father Bernard © Nigel Holliday

An eight-year-old boy is asking for public support to try to prevent his family’s dairy farm from being turned into a large-scale housing estate.

Developers have submitted plans to the council to build 475 homes on agricultural land in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

Captiva Homes says West Acre Park will offer a collection of two-, three- and four-bedroom houses.

See also: Third-generation tenant farming family face losing dairy

In a video appeal, Archie Holliday, standing in the milking parlour, urged people to sign a petition to help save Westridge Farm, so he can realise his dream of running it in the future.

A message from Archie

A VIDEO MESSAGE FROM ARCHIE SAVE WESTRIDGE FARM PETITION LAUNCHED! Please sign and share and together we can help Save Westridge Farm! Sign here 👉🏻 We are pleased to say that with 284 objections on the portal and over 150 further email and postal objections there are well over 400 objections submitted to the Isle of Wight Council. Thank you for your support, it’s not to late and objections can still be emailed or posted!

Posted by Save Westridge Farm on Sunday, October 25, 2020

Third-generation tenants Nigel and Amy Holliday keep 75 Holstein-Friesian cows and followers and 35 chickens at the farm.

The farmers said there have been more than 400 objections submitted to the Isle of Wight Council about the housing proposals.

Comments on the application have closed, pending the final decision. The council said it would not comment on active applications.

The Hollidays signed an Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancy in October 1966, which allows two generations of the original tenant to succeed to the tenancy.

Bernard Holliday is on the original tenancy and by law, two further tenancies by succession can be granted, making it possible for the family to work the holding for three generations in total. 

Under a traditional farm tenancy, if the landlord receives planning permission for anything other than agriculture use of the land, the tenant is entitled to six years’ rent equivalent on the land in question payable as compensation.

George Dunn, chief executive of the Tenant Farmers Association, said: “The statutory entitlement to compensation for the tenant in these circumstances is only six times the rent paid by the tenant for the land lost. This is no basis for assessing a fair level of compensation for the loss of a home, business and livelihood. 

“The TFA believes that compensation should be based on the level of the tenant’s actual loss which would be far in excess of that set out under the statutory basis.”

Developer’s response

In a statement, Captiva Homes said: “Here at Captiva Homes we are sympathetic to the situation of the farmer and his family who may be leaving land they have rented for many years.

“The landowner has chosen to sell the farm and part of the site was proposed as suitable for housing development by the Isle of Wight Council in 2013.

“The team at Captiva Homes, as local people, felt a commitment to exploring this opportunity to ensure maximum protection and responsible development of the land by islanders who care about our community.

“Unlike many other house builders, we are proposing a low-density scheme and we are also extremely passionate about working with local suppliers and trades to ensure maximum investment into the local community.

“We are also very aware of the critical need for new housing, especially affordable housing on the Island and if approved West Acre Park will provide 166 affordable homes to local residents in need.”