HC Deb 10 June 1907 vol 175 cc1094-5
MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether M r. Eastland, a tenant of the Crown near King's Lynn, has been called upon to surrender half of his farm to enable the Crown to experiment upon small holdings in that district; whether Mr. Eastland has offered to give up 100 acres for the purpose; whether the Crown have in hand 350 acres which could be utilised for small holdings if desirable; and on what grounds the President of the Board of Agriculture has thought it right to disturb a tenant who has been in occupation of the farm for sixty years.


Was not notice given to this tenant on the ground that he was an unsatisfactory tenant before the present President of the Board succeeded to office?


The right hon. Gentleman has been misinformed as to the facts of this case. Mr. Eastland has not been tenant of this farm for sixty years. He only holds it at present as executor of his mother, who was the Crown tenant and who died in January, 1906. Mr. Eastland was joint tenant with his mother from 1893 to 1898, but his tenancy was then terminated on the ground that the farm was not well managed, and it was subsequently relet to his mother as sole tenant. On his mother's death, Mr. Eastland applied to take the farm, which comprises nearly 950 acres, but he was not considered capable of managing so large a holding, and notice to quit at Michaelmas next was therefore given in September last. All this was done before the property was transferred to the management of my noble friend. With a view, however, to enable Mr. Eastland to retain the old home, my noble friend has offered to lot him the farm house and principal buildings with about 368 acres of land, and it is proposed to let the remainder for small holdings, for which there is a great demand in the neighbourhood and for which the land is well suited. The 350 acres referred to by the right hon. Gentleman consists of marsh land in a very exposed position, and it is not land which is well adapted for small holdings. For some years past the grazing has been let by auction each year in small lots, the rent receivable for the current year being £1,270.