A holding becomes vacant as tenants move on to larger farms, retire or as their tenancy expires. Since 1984, tenancies incorporated a retirement clause requiring the tenant to retire upon the age of 65 and following the introduction of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995, new tenancies are typically for a predetermined length and usually for 15 years or age 65 whichever is the shorter period.
Tenants must therefore plan to move either during or at the end of the tenancy and this must be evident within business plans.
Tenancies dating from before 1984 allow the tenant to continue for the whole of their lifetime should the tenant so wish, but it should be noted that Council Farms are provided as a gateway into the industry and such tenants will be encouraged to continue to seek opportunities to move onto larger farms within the private sector and in so doing make way for new entrants.
Farm tenancies are advertised in the National Farming press and at least one local newspaper. Those interested, are asked to apply for particulars (usually for a small fee if in paper form) and attend a viewing day when all potential applicants can walk the farm, view the facilities and discuss any matters which they may wish to raise with the Councils Land Agent.
Interested applicants have to submit an initial application which must include practical, financial and environmental management proposals. Short-listed applicants will be visited at home and preferably their place of work and those on the final shortlist will be invited to an interview. The interviewing panel may comprise a mix of officers and or members of the Council and a decision upon the appointment is usually made during the course of the interview day.
Selection criteria for candidates
To be eligible for consideration, applicants must be able to demonstrate that they can fulfil the following conditions:
- Have at least five years practical experience of farming of which up to three years of appropriate agricultural further education or training can be included.
- Holdings are only available to persons who are prepared to farm them personally, and where houses are provided, the tenant is required to reside on the holding.
- Tenants should not normally engage in any form of business other than agriculture, although ancillary complementary activities or diversification will be considered and encouraged in suitable cases.
- When selecting tenants, preference is always given to applicants who can demonstrate that they have the most suitable practical and theoretical knowledge required and proposed for the type of farm.
Prospective tenants must be able to show that they have sufficient capital to enter a holding and work it. This can be quite substantial where an incoming tenant may be required to pay for the outgoing tenant's fixtures and fittings, entitlements, live and dead stock, sufficient to properly farm the holding.
If you wish to discuss the opportunities available on Cheshire Farms Estate, submit your enquiries to:
Cheshire Farms Service
4 Civic Way
Phone (01244) 972566