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Smallholdings: Devon

Volume 493: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with local authorities in Devon on the disposal of small holdings in local authority ownership. (276199)

There have been no specific discussions with local authorities in Devon on the disposal of local authority smallholdings. However, in the foreword to the latest Annual Report on Smallholdings, a copy of which is in the House Library, I made it clear that DEFRA fully supports the continuation of the county farm system.

I understand that in Devon following a Best Value Review in 2001 the council firmly backed the retention of a county farm estate and that the current estate comprises 60 smallholdings, of which 20 are starter farms and 40 progression farms.