The Countryside Regeneration Trust (CRT) is seeking an “entrepreneurial” tenant farmer to take over the herd of prize-winning cattle at Pierrepont Farm in Frensham.
It comes after the CRT opted not to renew the tenancies of a host of Pierrepont tenants including current tenant farmer Mike Clear and Craft Brews brewery owner Joe Wood.
Mr Clear moved to the dairy farm in 2006, the same year it was gifted to the then-titled Countryside Restoration Trust by Jo Reader.
Alongside his late wife Bev, Mr Clear built up the farm to where it is today, winning awards and employing pioneering methods such as a robotic milking parlour and an unpasteurised milk vending machine. But his lease is set to expire in 2024.
Craft Brews, which saw its lease terminated last December, has since been replaced with Farnham Brewing Co – despite a petition objecting to Craft Brews’ closure which mustered nearly 5,000 signatures.
A ‘letting document’ advertising the new farm tenancy offers a 10-year agreement, beginning on Monday April 1, 2024.
The CRT said: “[We] are looking for an entrepreneurial farmer with a passion to farm in harmony with nature and produce high quality food while enhancing the wider environment.”
But the CRT cannot escape the scrutiny of many in the local community who feel the evictions are unfair and not in keeping with the trust’s core values – or the values of Pierrepont’s late benefactor Jo Reader.
One person said: “It’s a shame they are kicking out the current tenants.”
“What has happened to CRT’s community spirit?”, another person questioned.
On its core values, the CRT website states: “Our core values is a thriving community in the countryside, that’s why we utilised old and disused farming properties into vibrant and thriving communities supporting sustainable local businesses.”
A viewing day for any parties interested in the letting was held on Tuesday. Tenders must be sent to the CRT’s Cambridge office no later than midday on Monday, January 8, 2024.