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Human Pigs in Pendle’s Council Palaces

Couple sends out warning about farmland purchase pressure

ONGOING expansion of a large industrial estate is placing one farmer under ‘immense pressure’ to sell his land, his partner has claimed.

29 November 2014 | By Ben Briggs

Farmers Guardian

William Hargreaves farms 100 hectares (247 acres) at Fence, Lancashire, and his land borders a large commercial development called Lomeshaye Industrial Estate.

But Mr Hargreaves’ partner Angela Arnold said Pendle Council was putting them under ‘immense pressure’ to sell the farm so the estate could keep on expanding, despite them not wanting to.

The council refused to comment on Ms Arnold’s allegations, although it is understood council bosses were surprised by her claims.

Chartered surveyor Mike Redshaw, of Nolan Redshaw, said farmers’ rights were clear when it came to situations such as this and encouraged the couple to seek professional advice (see panel).

Ms Arnold said: “The council has come after us and wants the farm for industrial and commercial development.

“It is causing a lot of upset for William who has lived here all his life.

“The council told us it will give us agricultural land value for the site, but that is not right.”

Ms Arnold said the council had told them it wanted the land because it was part of a 15-year plan to develop the industrial estate and surrounding land for commercial use.

But she said the council was ignoring her partner’s wishes.

She added: “William said he does not want to move and wants the approaches to stop, but they are not.

“I have said if the council wants to pursue it through compulsory purchase it can, but that will take years.”

Neil Watson, planning and building control manager, said: “Pendle Council is dealing with the provision of further employment and industrial land as part of a core strategy. It would not be appropriate for us to comment further on this issue at this time.”

Expert view on development wrangles

FOR Mike Redshaw, director at chartered surveyor Nolan Redshaw, a farmer’s rights are clear in a situation such as this.

And he stressed there was no need to be pushed into a situation you felt uncomfortable about.

He said: “They do not have to sell and it is for them to negotiate the best deal. But if they do not want to sell they do not have to sell.

“If they want to take it to compulsory purchase then this changes things and they would have to look at the value from the perspective of its potential as an industrial site.

“Compulsory purchase, however, can take many years and there is always the right to appeal, so it can be a very lengthy process.”

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