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Farms: Local Authorities

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of Sir Don Curry's report on the future of council-owned farms. (244251)

The Government have long made clear their support for the continuation of the county farm system. I therefore welcome the recent paper by Sir Don Curry on “The Importance of the County Farms Service to the Rural Economy” and fully support Sir Don's views and his recommendations for preserving the future of local authority estates. Local authorities should be free to manage their smallholdings estates as they see fit because they are in the best position to make decisions in their areas in the interests of the communities they serve. Nevertheless, we recognise the important role of county farms and would urge local authorities to act on Sir Don's recommendations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which local authorities have smallholdings; what the area is of each such smallholding; and what assessment he has made of each local authority's plans for its smallholdings. (244257)

The following table shows the distribution and size of smallholding estates held by local authorities in England as at 31 March 2007 which is the latest readily available information.

Local authorities should be free to manage their smallholdings estates as they see fit because they are in the best position to make decisions in the interests of the communities they serve. We therefore do not make assessments of each local authority's plans for its smallholdings.

Area of smallholdings land held by smallholdings authorities as at 31 March 2007

Land let as smallholdings

Land held but not let as smallholdings

Total small- holdings land

County/Unitary Authority

Hectares

Hectares

Hectares

Bedfordshire

2,641

371

3,012

Berkshire West

117

117

Bournemouth

100

3

103

Brighton and Hove

4,263

26

4,289

Buckinghamshire

1,467

109

1,576

Cambridgeshire

12,275

1,632

13,907

Cheshire

3,920

212

4,132

City of York

103

31

134

Cornwall

4,461

109

4,570

Cumbria

261

98

359

Devon

4,146

4,146

Dorset

2,792

54

2,846

Durham

897

204

1,101

East Riding of Yorkshire

2,826

7

2,833

East Sussex

43

21

64

Essex

102

9

111

Gloucestershire

3,491

9

3,500

Hampshire

1,806

132

1,938

Hartlepool

88

88

Herefordshire

2,029

96

2,125

Hertfordshire

1,944

93

2,037

Lancashire

27

77

104

Leicestershire

2,909

67

2,976

Lincolnshire

8,156

21

8,177

Medway

82

82

Milton Keynes

447

447

Norfolk

6,710

233

6,943

Northamptonshire

335

1

336

North Lincolnshire

424

424

North Somerset

333

333

Northumberland

337

7

344

North Yorkshire

2,228

111

2,339

Nottinghamshire

270

534

804

Oxfordshire

381

19

400

Peterborough

1,242

1

1,243

Shropshire

714

25

739

Slough

3

3

Somerset

2,863

383

3,246

South Gloucestershire

491

3

494

Staffordshire

3,474

48

3,522

Suffolk

5,157

286

5,443

Surrey

854

157

1,011

Swindon

828

828

Thurrock

202

202

Torbay

25

1

25

Warrington

28

35

63

Warwickshire

2,001

21

2,022

West Sussex

304

59

363

Wiltshire

2,404

27

2,431

Worcestershire

1,602

54

1,656

Total

94,603

5,385

99,988

1 The above information is taken from a table included in the 57 draft annual report to Parliament on statutory smallholdings.