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21 December 2016 09:41:26 |Finance,News,Property News,Rural Life

Tenant farmers win £1.75m after being misled by Crown Estate

Ian and Judith Wakley fought their legal case for three and a half years

Ian and Judith Wakley fought their legal case for three and a half years

A dairy farming couple have won a £1.75 million payout in compensation after being misled about the condition of the farm they rented from the Crown Estate.
Fifth generation farmers Ian and Judith Wakley moved their family from Aberdeen to Somerset to take on a Crown Estate farm tenancy in 2007.
But they found that Staple Park Farm had problems with equipment and other difficulties, contrary to the Crown Estate's description.
Following legal proceedings, the High Court has ruled in favour of the farming couple, following a three and a half year long case.
They took up the tenancy after being told the farm equipment including water storage and disposal were 'up to date'. Despite repeated requests, the Crown Estate was unwilling to repair the equipment or remedy the problems.
In his judgment, the High Court judge found that the Crown Estate had misrepresented the condition and capacity of the farm.
"The misrepresentations initiated an insidious chain of events which ended with the Wakleys entering into the farm business tenancy.
"I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities and find as a fact, that the problem with the herd and of the run-down condition of the farm were not the consequence of incompetence on the part of the Wakleys, they were the consequence of the problems they encountered.
"In other words, the losses sustained on the farm were sustained in spite of the Wakleys exercising all reasonable endeavours to overcome those problems.
"I am entirely satisfied and find as a fact that the Wakleys neither were at any time, nor are, incompetent farmers.
A spokesman for The Crown Estate said: "We are of course disappointed with the outcome of this litigation.
"We will now consider the further legal recourse that is available to us and, in light of that, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time."
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