Council urged to reduce price of 'trailblazer' farm
CORNWALL Council has been urged to drop the asking price of its last remaining farm in the west of the county to give a "trailblazing" trust a real chance to thrive.
The call came from the president of the Liberal Democrat Party, Tim Farron, who visited Bosavern Community Farm near St Just this week. The MP said he was "hugely impressed" with the work going on at the organic haven, adding it could help reconnect communities with food production.
But, he said the farm's future should be made secure with a commitment from the council, the land owner.
"Cornwall Council should drop the price," he said. "It is currently asking £315,000 for the farm but could easily drop the price and that would make all the difference to its future."
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Bosavern Farm has been owned by the local authority and used to encourage new farmers into agriculture since the First World War.
In 2009, the council considered selling the site but, after representation from the local community, instead granted a short lease to a not-for-profit company, the Land's End Peninsula Community Land Trust.
The aim was to show that the community could not only manage the farm but also raise the funds to purchase the site. The trust says it is "hopeful" of a successful application for a "substantial" grant from the Big Lottery Fund and has issued more than 100 community shares to raise money.
Mr Farron said he was keen to support the work at Bosavern and the work going on at the farm should act as a blueprint.
"It's a real trailblazer, not just for Cornwall but for the whole of the UK. I do think it is something that could be emulated across the whole of the country.
"It is a shame it's the last Cornwall Council-owned farm (in west Cornwall), because having tenanted property for young people to get them started in farming is something that is desperately needed because it gets people educated about farming from the grass roots."
Deb Pepper, a member of the trust's steering committee, said: "It would be nice if Cornwall Council could drop the price," she said. "We feel as though we offer good value to the council."
Cornwall Council was not available to comment.