To consider a report of the Head of Scrutiny and Member Development on a request for scrutiny regarding the proposals in the farming operations consultation document issued by the City Development Directorate on the future of Home Farm at Temple Newsam and its work to promote rare breeds and the farms many conservation activities.
The Head of Scrutiny and Member Development submitted a report on a request for scrutiny regarding the proposals in the farming operations consultation document issued by the City Development Directorate on the future of Home Farm at Temple Newsam and its work to promote rare breeds and the farms many conservation activities.
Appended to the report were copies of the following correspondence for the information/comment of the meeting:-
· Letter from Yvonne Froehlich, Breed Secretary, White Park Cattle Society dated 31st January 2011
· Letter from Mr G L H Alderson, Founder President/Trustee Rare Breeds International dated 30th January 2011
In addition to the above correspondence, copies of e mails received from Tim Brigstocke, Sarah Hill and Mike Sandison were circulated with attachments as supplementary information.
The following representatives were in attendance and responded to Board Members’ queries and comments:-
Richard Mond, Chief Recreation Officer, City Development
Mr P Titley, Rare Breed Survival Trust
Mr G L H Alderson, Founder President/Trustee, Rare Breeds International
Mr T Brigstocke, Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST)
The Chair invited Mr Titley, Mr Alderson and Mr Brigstocke to outline the main points of their concerns regarding the proposals in the farming operations consultation document issued by the City Development Directorate on the future of Home Farm at Temple Newsam and its work to promote rare breeds and the farms many conservation activities.
The Chair then invited Richard Mond, Chief Recreation Officer, City Development to respond to the main points.
Board Members then questioned the representatives.
In summary, specific reference was made to the following issues:-
· The decision to reduce the budget at Home Farm by £100,000 in 2011/12
· The fact that the reduction in the acreage at Home Farm from 257 hectares to 45 hectares and consequent reduction in livestock will reduce this farm to a visitors centre and end 30 years of cutting edge development of rare breeds
· The lack of detail provided by the Directorate in their consultation document and whether or not the RBST case had been presented to the department
(The Principal Scrutiny Adviser confirmed that the additional information provided by the RBST had been circulated to all Members of the Board today and that the City Development Directorate had received their submission)
· The importance of Home Farm and the offer by the RBST and other groups to work with the Council to try and maintain Home Farm as a rare breed centre and find ways to significantly reduce the costs of the farm (use of volunteers etc)
(Mr Brigsocke, Rare Breeds Survival Trust offered to develop with the Council a robust business plan for Home Farm, but warned that this could take a couple of years before significant savings could be achieved. He referred to the success of other local authorities in obtaining Heritage lottery funding and support with apprenticeship schemes for their rare breed centres. He stressed that Home Farm was internationally recognised as a rare breed centre and further discussions needed to take place with all partners to identify ways of saving it)
(The Chief Recreation Officer stated that the consultation was now complete and his budget for this service in 2011/12 had already been cut, but welcomed the suggestions and range of offers put forward by the various organisations and looked forward to working with them to see how costs could be reduced)
· clarification of the timescales in relation to the cessation of rare breeds at Temple Newsam
(The Chief Recreation Officer responded and agreed to consult with the Head of Parks and Countryside with a view to circulating this information to the Board)
· The need for a detailed paper setting out the income and expenditure of Home Farm and clarification as to whether all income is allowed to remain in the Farm’s accounts or whether it was vired to other vote heads
· The view that this issue would also have an effect on the operations at Lineham Farm
a) That the contents of the report and appendices be noted.
b) That the request for scrutiny regarding the future of the Rare Breed Centre at Home Farm following completion of the consultation undertaken by the City Development Directorate be approved.
c) That a time-limited working group be established to consider the offers made by the Rare Breed Survival Trust and Rare Breeds International Trust regarding the future of Home Farm.
d) That the Chief Recreation Officer prepare a report for consideration by the Working Group setting out the facts following the Council Budget meeting to include a balance sheet showing income and expenditure for 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12 projected and clarification as to whether all income is retained in the farming operations or whether any was vired to other vote heads.