Tragic death of farmer
The farmer at the centre of one of the most complex, lengthy and costly legal disputes on farm tenancies was found dead on Tuesday following the completion of the last harvest on land his family had farmed for more than a century.
Andrew Riddell, of Peaston Farm near Ormiston, East Lothian, had been in dispute with his landlord, Alistair Salveson, for the best part of a decade following receipt of a notice to quit a limited partnership tenancy in 2003; some five years before its natural expiry.
Riddell, as tenant, then took advantage of a provision in the Agricultural Holdings Act in 2003 which allowed tenants to claim a full tenancy if they had been served an early notice by their landlord dissolving a partnership. Security of tenure could be granted if, in the opinion of the Land Court, notice had been served to circumvent the new 2003 act and any potential extended rights that it might have given to tenants.
The measure was introduced by the Scottish Executive in response to reports that a large number of tenants had suddenly been served eviction orders. The government’s reaction sparked off an avalanche of an estimated 200 notices to quit in what became known in the agricultural world as the “night of the long knives”.
In 2010, the Scottish Land Court decided that a full agricultural tenancy had been created on Peaston but in March this year that decision was overturned by the Court of Session following an appeal by Salveson, this legal ruling meaning that Peaston would be resumed in November this year by Salvesen who purchased it in 1998.
Riddell had been a director of the Scottish Tenant Farmers Association for a number of years and yesterday chairman Angus McCall, commenting on the premature death, said his thoughts were first and foremost with the family.
“For all of us who knew Andrew as a friend and fellow farmer he was regarded as a genuinely good and decent guy, dedicated to his children and wider family.
“He was a very highly respected tenant farmer, capable, progressive and talented in the field of agronomy which he was passionate about.
“It is understood that Andrew had just completed his final harvest when this tragedy occurred. Andrew will be mourned and very sadly missed by all and our thoughts are especially with his young family at this time.”
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Source: the scotsman