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RURAL COUNCILS CALL FOR CURBS ON SALES OF AGRICULTURAL LAND

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Rural councils in southern England are calling for government action to halt the destruction of agricultural land, ...
Rural councils in southern England are calling for government action to halt the destruction of agricultural land, carved up for caravan sites by property developers, reports the Guardian (p5 August 30).

They are urging the Environment Department to investigate the sale and division of low quality agricultural farmland to buyers wanting to build a holiday home or find a permanent site for their caravan, the paper says.

The land, which is sold without planning permission, is left derelict and overgrown, while legal loopholes mean it is unfit for agricultural use, the councils said.

Their fears centre around the activities of Victor Gladwish, a property developer and his VT Property Sales company, who is believed to have just acquired 30 sites which he plans to divide and sell.

Sales literature makes it clear there is no planning permission for the land, but explains the lengthy process involved in removing caravans once installed, the Guardian reports.

Tunbridge Wells BC has applied for an Article 4 directive in respect of Mr Gladwish's 47-acre plot at Green Acres farm near Hawkhurst, a village in Kent, now divided into 147 plots. This will prevent any caravans being placed on the land or any development taking place and individual owners must then be evicted by the court in a process which can take up to two years.

Mr Gladwish said he is not misleading his customers, many of whom are homeless. He said it will take two or three years for the council to remove them and if they pay £1,500 to buy a plot it is equivalent to about £10 a week rent, the Guardian reports.

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