Buccleuch to phase out controversial farm tenancies

Buccleuch is in advanced talks over the sale of ten farms. Picture: Stuart Cobley
Buccleuch is in advanced talks over the sale of ten farms. Picture: Stuart Cobley
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The 200,000-plus acre Buccleuch Estate is in the process of changing its arrangements with a number of its farm tenants who have been renting land through limited partnership agreements.

The organisation revealed that it is currently in advanced discussions with ten tenant farmers who are negotiating the purchase of the farms they rent, while others are likely to convert their agreements to alternative long-term letting arrangements such as limited duration tenancies (LDTs).

There are some farmers who will not want to purchase their farms

John Glen

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Chief executive John Glen said that Buccleuch was in the process of moving on from the existing limited partnership agreements, stating that it was a tenancy type which was being phased out across the sector.

The ten farms likely to be sold total 7,304 acres and are on Buccleuch’s Bowhill, Eskdale and Liddesdale and Queensberry estates.

“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,” said Glen.

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“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 purchase their farms and we will continue discussions with them to seek a mutually satisfactory outcome.”

He said the estate remained heavily invested in tenant farming, adding that the proceeds of any farm sales would be invested in Buccleuch’s rural business operations.

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The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association welcomed what it termed a constructive attitude to the change away from limited partnership arrangements – which had been widely used in the last decades of the 20th century as a means of circumventing security of tenure.

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“We are pleased to hear that Buccleuch Estate is taking steps to enter into discussions with their tenants to agree a mutually beneficial way forward for their farming businesses,” said chairman Christopher Nicholson.

He said that STFA hoped that other landlords would follow suit in their dealings with limited partnership tenants, and abide by the current guidelines and the soon-to-be-released code of practice.

“In particular, formal notices to dissolve partnerships or terminate tenancies should not be served before discussions have taken place and attempts made to reach a mutually agreeable solution,” said Nicholson.

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