Buccleuch farmers given buy-out offer


LANDOWNER Buccleuch has announced that it is in advanced discussions with tenant farmers with regard to them buying the farms they currently rent.

The prospective sales involve 10 farms totalling 7,304 acres on Buccleuch’s Bowhill, Eskdale and Liddesdale and Queensberry estates.

The farms are currently occupied on Limited Partnership agreements.

Buccleuch is also in discussions with a number of other Limited Partnership tenants with a view to converting agreements to alternative long-term letting arrangements.

John Glen, chief executive of Buccleuch, said: “We are pleased to offer tenants the opportunity to buy their farms and have been very encouraged by the response from farmers keen to develop their businesses.

“Most of the farmers interested would like to purchase their whole farm, while others are interested in buying part of the land they occupy and the farmhouse.

"There are some farmers who will not want to buy their farms and we will continue discussions with them to seek a mutually satisfactory outcome.

“Several tenants have also indicated their willingness to move to new tenancy arrangements and we are in the process of dissolving the existing Limited Partnership agreements, a tenancy type which is largely being phased out across the sector.

“We are still heavily invested in tenant farming and the proceeds of any farm sales will be invested in our rural business operations.”

Buccleuch was responding to criticism by Joan McAlpine, South of Scotland SNP MSP, over its move and she urged tenants to seek expert advice on their rights.

She was approached by constituents in Eskdale concerned that Buccleuch intended to sell the properties they were renting.

Ms McAlpine approached Mr Glen who confirmed some properties were being sold, with tenants being offered first refusal to purchase.

Ms McAlpine said those, who were not in a position to buy or who did not want to, should contact an independent expert who could discuss options with them.

Dumfries & Galloway Citizen Advice Service (DAGCAS) was best placed to advise on rights because different tenancy agreement documents offered different levels of protection.

Ms McAlpine said: "In some cases, the tenants were elderly and had occupied their homes for many years. A move to social housing in the town would be deeply disruptive and upsetting if they were not in a position to buy.

“I understand the estate is within its rights and is offering tenants first refusal to buy. But different tenancy agreements offer different levels of protection so anyone affected ought to contact an independent housing adviser."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at 11:27AM
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