The Tenant Farmers Association has commended Pembrokeshire County Council for producing ’a forward looking’ programme for its county farms estates – something it says the county council in Herefordshire could learn a thing or two.
Following a review of its farms the West Wales council has come forward with a seven-point plan which will allow the estate to make a significant contribution to the Pembrokeshire agricultural sector, while maximising revenue for the local authority both through income generation and capital receipts.
“In all our dealings with local authorities we encourage them to take a sound asset management approach to maximise opportunity both for individuals to be farmers in their own account and in the harvesting of value for wider use within the local authority,” says TFA chief executive, George Dunn,
“It seems that in its review Pembrokeshire has struck the right balance. Our only concern is the halving of the annual budget for on-going management of the estate which may have consequences into the long-term.
“But Pembrokeshire’s decision is in stark contrast to the terrible decision taken by Herefordshire County Council.
“Against all of the advice to the cabinet including by its own overview and scrutiny committee, Herefordshire councillors have decided to divest itself of its estate - doing huge damage to the agricultural sector in the county and without due regard to obtaining best value for council tax payers,” added Mr Dunn.
“It is a real shame that some of the expertise in Pembrokeshire has not transferred across Offa’s Dyke into Herefordshire which is in my view guilty of gross mismanagement.
“Even at this late stage, we would encourage the cabinet of Herefordshire County Council to learn lessons from what Pembrokeshire has been able to achieve so that we might see better outcomes both for the agricultural community within Herefordshire and its council tax payers.”