Fears over sell-off in dale of the daffodils

Dave Mead
Dave Mead
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Farndale hit the news for reasons other than its spring flowers with the news some of its tenants are to be moved out. Chris Berry reports.

For Sale signs are not something you see a lot of in Farndale but pretty soon there will be seven of them going up under the same agent’s name.

There were to be 13 originally but a change of heart took place late last week in the face of a media backlash. The remaining seven may not seem a lot but in a dale with the population of only around 200 that’s still quite a chunk.

Sons of property tycoon Sir Lawrence Barratt, who died in December last year, are selling some of the land. on the 4,350-acre Farndale Estate.

Conjecture is rife over what will happen to this remote and rugged dale that looks it could now fall into the ‘second property’ category as a rural retreat for ‘townies’.

The sale came as a complete shock to those who live in the Daffodil Dale. However, for residents of the area, it has left them wondering where they will go next.

George Loggie runs the Daffy Café half a mile from Church Houses, one of the two hamlets in the dale. He has been here 14 years and was originally served with a notice to quit.

“I’m the eternal optimist and I received a phone call from the agents telling me that the property I rent has now been taken off the market.

“My glass is always half-full rather than half-empty and I’d already had a couple of interesting approaches that may have lead to still being here. I’d been offered a mortgage and I’m in my 60s. That’s not something I was going to take up, but it amazed me that I could still have one.

“Everyone around here goes to Ryedale Show, which took place on July 30. When we came back that day it appears the 13 properties initially affected had all received a letter. It was a complete shock.

“I was told that I could live here until the property was sold and then I would have two months to get out. Others were and now are in a much worse position. Those in Low Mill (the larger hamlet) have simply been given two months to get out.

“This year has already been horrendous in terms of trade as the daffodils were late and that lost me a month’s worth of revenue. This has really topped it off though.”

Dave Mead, parish clerk on Farndale East Parish Council, farms 42 acres running towards Farndale Head. Like many others in the dale he owns his property and land after vuying it from Yorkshire Water in 1989. No farms are up for sale.

“Officially the Parish Council knows nothing. We’ve never been informed by the agents over what is happening and the first we knew of it was when emails started flying around. I feel very sorry for George and the others affected.

“We were trying to find out just who the thirteen were and now we will try to find out who the seven are, but at first when it was 13 they appeared to be largely in two clusters. The main cluster is in Low Mill where of the ten properties just three of them are owned. The rest may all be up for sale. Our records indicate that there are 28 rented properties on the Farndale Estate.”

Laura Hardy of Strutt & Parker, stated: “Sir Lawrence died in December and his family are facing an inheritance tax bill which needs paying. As part of that they are selling some properties. There is no set time frame and each tenant has a different notice period, depending on the individual tenancy agreement.”

Residents are being offered a 50 per cent reduction in their rent until the properties are sold and they have also been offered an opportunity to purchase.

The agents, Strutt & Parker, based in Northallerton are understandably maintaining a low profile at present although their latest move to reduce the number affected has brought reprieve for some. Their original letter to the 13 tenants affected stated the following: “I appreciate that this will be very upsetting and disruptive news for you and although it will be of little solace I can assure you that it is not a decision that has been taken lightly.”