3:24pm Thursday 22nd March 2012
By James Stephenson
AS of last Friday, the nasty new sheep virus schmallenberg had crept a little closer to home with cases confirmed in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire.
It is a horrible disease manifesting itself in abortion and stillbirths and is pretty widespread throughout Germany, The Netherlands and central France.
Currently, there are 176 cases in the UK spread across 22 counties and comprising 12 cattle herds and 164 sheep flocks. According to the official State Veterinary website there is no vaccine nor treatment for this new virus so it is all the more dangerous.
THERE will be a lot of councillors, planners and the public watching with interest as the neighbourhood planning regulations come in to effect on April 6.
From that date a novel concept will allow a parish council to require the Local Planning Authority to make a Neighbourhood Development Order.
This order can have the effect of granting planning consent within the parish area for a specific development and the intention is to involve people in making their own planning decisions. Past experience tends to show that one community is happy to support development in another but not so keen when it is in their own backyard.
BEWARE of cropping and grazing licences. For some time now I have been concerned at the casual approach taken to cropping and grazing licences by many farmers and indeed some professionals.
The area of thinnest ice is liable to crack around the identity and eligibility of the person claiming Single Farm Payment. There has never been any doubt in my mind that the claimant has to be in control of the crop as at the date of the claim and indeed has continuing liability for compliance with the SP rules.
To be fair, I think we can overcome any difficulties on the Grazing Agreement with careful wording and retaining some management activity with the land owner but it is much more difficult when you are dealing with say a crop of potatoes.
Be warned that the SPS 2012 handbook clearly states as follows: “You should carefully check that land on which you are applying for SPS meets the land at your disposal rule and that you can show evidence of how you meet this rule.”
We also need to be aware that a breach of this sort is consider a pretty heinous crime by the RPA and can be punishable by total exclusion from the SP Scheme for up to four years.
ALTHOUGH we have now launched the ship in which we can travel, the Farmer’s Market Company, we have not yet found a suitable safe haven in which we can build our trading port for the new livestock market.
Next week, on Thursday, March 29, Ryedale District Council is due to debate and decide upon two major new retail sites that could provide part of the solution for the market.
The first is the Fitzwilliam Estate which has put forward a revamp of their original plans to develop the old market site in town but, to be truthful it is not offering the farming fraternity very much in exchange. It is offering a site quite a way up the Pickering Road which does not belong to them.
It has not put forward any concrete proposals regarding compensation to enable us to fund the new premises.
The second application in the pipeline is the one from the council itself, in Wentworth Street, where a large superstore is planned within a complicated double-decked structure on a site that has difficult access.
I still believe that if there is a need for another retail store then the best spot for it would be the Showfield, but even if this does not find favour, the Fitzwilliam Trust, which owns the Showfield and land outside the bypass in the Pickering Road are the key to our future, only they can unlock the gates to a sensible site just over the bypass in Pickering Road and if there is enabling development granted to them on the Showfield site then considerable sums would be forthcoming to help us build our market.
I feel there is still a deal to be done but I think a decision in favour of either application next Thursday would be a mistake.
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