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Elected members from Three Rivers District Council tour Woodoaks Farm
12:45pm Monday 24th September 2012 in News
The owners of a historic Maple Cross farm under threat from a new school development invited councillors to take a tour of the site last week.
Elected members from Three Rivers District Council were taken round Woodoaks Farm by John and Sally Findlay on Thursday (September 20).
Part of the land they currently farm - which has been farmed for more than 1,000 years - has been identified by Hertfordshire County Council as the preferred site for a new secondary school in WD3.
Members were given a crash course in milking and information about various footpaths before touring a 16th century barn on the site Earlier this year Mr Findlay told the Watford Observer the loss of the land is likely to mean the mixed-use arable and dairy farm could no longer produce enough money to stay open.
He said: "There are very few working farms left in Three Rivers. The current proposal by the county council, to build a school on part of the land we farm, will probably reduce the number even more by making Woodoaks Farm unviable.
"We've been growing wheat and barley here for 80 years and have a dairy herd of 70 cows. The plan to take over the field would mean the loss of 20 per cent of the arable acreage. It is a vital area of land.
"There is no way of creating more arable land without taking away permanent pasture from the cattle, to the detriment of the herd."
Council chairman Councillor Ann Shaw said: "Councillors came away feeling much better informed about the difficulties of local farming, having heard about them at first hand from those involved."
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