I have just sent the following letter to local newspapers. It relates to a local scandal. I hope that it will have an effect. It certainly ought to.
All of our Councils are said to be short of money. Cambridgeshire County Council has 24 acres of arable farm land for sale at Reach. This is good land and it is known to be productive and valuable. I know that the National Trust wants to purchase this land to add to the thousands of acres that the Trust is presently letting go to rack and ruin for its so-called 'Wicken Vision.'
It appears that a selling price for this land has been set by two firms of valuers and if the Trust does not 'complete' the purchase at this price, the land will then be sold on the open market. I understand that the County Council has given the Trust a 'twelve-month window' to raise sufficient funds for the purchase. We don't know what the price is or if a deposit has already been paid or why the Trust has preferentially been given twelve months to pay.
I hear from my County Councillor, Mr David Brown, of Burwell, that the land is being sold 'under current County Council policy.' I think that the County Council, in order to make as much money as possible on behalf of the Council Tax payers, ought to have a policy of selling this land openly. In fairness to Cllr. Brown, he says, 'The current policy is not necessarily a policy I agree with.'
If the two firms of valuers have made the same mess with this land as valuers did when another local farm - the 103-acre Hurdle Hall, also at Reach, which was practically given to the Trust for £300,000 - then the County Council will have let the Council Tax payers down and done yet another underhand and scandalous deal with the Trust.
I submit that no valuers can know what such good land is truly worth to, say, a local farming family, without the land having been marketed openly. I am amazed that the County Council is not marketing the land openly.
As is known, I am not inexperienced in these matters and I have now heard more than enough of these cosy deals done 'under current County Council policy,' and done in secret for the benefit of the National Trust.
The 'current County Council policy,' certainly so far as it affects such land sales to the National Trust, must be changed. Now, before it is too late.
I attached a picture of 'an angry Geoffrey Woollard' pointing out the extent of the land at Reach. Here is the picture.
Happy New Year!