Farmer left stunned by council ultimatum to remove concrete blocks
A Thames Valley farmer who is plagued by rural criminals is being threatened with prosecution by a council unless he removes concrete blocks and tyres from his land.
Colin Rayner, a director of J Rayner & Sons, says Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) has given him until the end of this month to remove the tyres and concrete blocks from his land in Richings Park – or it will consider formal action.
Mr Rayner, who is the current chairman of the South Buckinghamshire NFU, says he is a constant victim of rural crime and suffers a crime a day on average.
See also: New taskforce to tackle rural crime in Thames Valley
But placing concrete blocks in front of gateways and old tractor tyres along the borders of his fields have helped him to keep out joyriders and poachers, and deter trespassers who set up illegal camps on his land.
Mr Rayner, whose family has been farming in Buckinghamshire since 1551, has written to Buckinghamshire County Council’ planning head to ask him to explain why he believes placing concrete blocks in front of gateways is unlawful in planning terms.
“What can the thousands of farmers in Buckinghamshire do to protect their farms from the criminals if they have to remove all these concrete blocks?” he asked.
Mr Rayner says he has received the support of Joy Morrison, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield, Cllr Wendy Matthews, a South Buckinghamshire District Councillor for Iver and Richings Park and Inspector Stuart Hutchinson, of Thames Valley Police.
In a letter sent to Ms Morrissey, Cllr Peter Strachan, cabinet member for planning at regeneration at BCC, says he “appreciates Mr Rayner’s need to protect his land”.
But Mr Strachan argues that the use of old tractor tyres to protect his land “is simply not an acceptable way to provide the level of security Mr Rayner desires”. The deposit of tyres along his field also “has a substantial impact on the visual appearance and character of the area”.
BCC is threatening to issue a notice to Mr Rayner under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 if he fails to remove the concrete blocks and tyres by 31 January.
Farmers Weekly has contacted the council for a comment.