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Total income received from sales projected at £46 million

The sale of Herefordshire Council’s smallholding estate is nearing completion, with the total income received from sales projected at £46 million as of 10 May 2018. The estate was offered to the open market to achieve best value for money and to generate alternative funding for the statutory services the council must provide. 59 individual lots were marketed with a total guide price of £37 million, and the sales process was in accordance with the agreed disposal programme approved by Cabinet on 13 October 2016.

Out of the 40 tenants originally affected by the sale, 25 tenants have successfully purchased all or part of their farm, mutually agreed retirement or continued their tenancies under a new landlord.

The remaining 15 tenants have found other opportunities through new tenancies, ownership of alternative land and employment in the rural business and agricultural sectors.

As agreed by Cabinet on 3 December 2015, Herefordshire Council has retained six smallholdings from its estate which have the potential for future housing and infrastructure development opportunities, and those tenants remain on their existing terms.

Councillor Harry Bramer, Herefordshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Contracts and Assets said:

“By offering the smallholding estate to the open market, we have achieved best value for money for taxpayers and exceeded the guide price. We are grateful to the tenants for their patience throughout the sale process which we endeavoured to proceed quickly and efficiently for all parties.”

Councillor Jonathan Lester, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said:

“Herefordshire Council has earmarked the income earned from the smallholding estate sale to fund and deliver bold and ambitious plans for the county. £10 million of capital investment has been proposed for the development and regeneration partnership, which will support Invest Herefordshire’s economic development programme. From 2020, Herefordshire Council will no longer receive central government funding, so the aim of this investment is to strengthen the council’s long term financial sustainability by delivering a mix of house building and regeneration projects over the next 10 to 20 years.

“By working with our local and national partners, Herefordshire Council will continue to invest the smallholding disposal capital receipts into improving our schools, enhancing the county’s infrastructure, delivering housing and creating job opportunities which will in turn contribute to an improved quality of life for Herefordshire’s residents.”

Published: Thursday, 10th May 2018