Statement: Mr Garmston, tenant of an SC-owned smallholding in Myddle
Mr Garmston has been a valued tenant of a smallholding in Myddle, owned by Shropshire Council, for many years.
Later next month (March 2021) his Farm Business Tenancy will reach the end of its term, meaning that Mr Garmston and his animals will need to find somewhere else to live. The council has offered its help and support at what it understands is a very difficult time.
Below is a statement the council has issued in response to media coverage around Mr Garmston, his home, and finding homes for his beloved feral cats.
Mark Barrow, Shropshire Council’s director of place and enterprise, said:
“Mr Garmston has been a valued tenant of a Shropshire Council-owned smallholding for many years, most recently under a 15-year Farm Business Tenancy which reaches the end of its term in late March.
“We have been in discussions with Mr Garmston about this since January 2020 and offered him the opportunity to buy the property in which he lives. During the past 13 months Mr Garmston has not requested an extension to his tenancy nor have his professional representatives.
“Given the circumstances we are, however, talking with Mr Garmston about the possibility of a grace period at the end of his lease. Our housing team are also offering Mr Garmston support to help him find a new home at what we fully appreciate is a difficult time for him. This would also give him more time to rehome any of his animals.
“Mr Garmston’s situation reflects significant changes in agriculture, where farming on such a small scale has become increasingly difficult, particularly for livestock and dairy farmers.
“At the same time, we have a duty to our council taxpayers to seek to secure the best value possible from our assets, which includes such smallholdings.
“As many will understand, these smallholdings require ongoing maintenance and there is obviously a cost associated with this. The eventual sale of this smallholding, and others that the council owns, will enable the council to build many more homes for people who need them.”