Thrift Farm - Cabinet decides to hold consultation
A proposal on the future of Thrift Farm, a rural supported employment service for adults with learning difficulties and local visitor attraction, was considered by the County Council on Monday 4 February 2019. Cabinet members agreed [with one abstention] to go ahead with the proposal to consult, extending the consultation period from six to eight weeks.
Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said she was introducing the proposal with a 'heavy heart' and hoped that someone will come forward to take over the leasehold at Thrift Farm. Lin continued: "This proposal has not been taken lightly; we have been looking at every angle to keep it open. All Cabinet members recognise the unique role Thrift Farm plays in providing real work opportunities for people with a learning disability and we are supportive of finding a viable way to keep it going.
"There has been a significant number of representations made to members in support of Thrift Farm, raising some valid points. We have read all of these and take them very seriously. However, all local governments are facing very tough financial times and forced to take some difficult decisions. We are hopeful that the increased awareness raised by the consultation process will help us find someone willing to take over operations at the farm."
Cabinet members were told during the meeting that the opportunity to express an interest in Thrift Farm had been advertised twice on the South East Business Portal - but had not produced a viable option. Recent publicity has already prompted six organisations interested in the offer to run Thrift Farm to contact the council. Anyone else interested in submitting an expression of interest can do so via the SE Business Portal here which will be live when the consultation starts on 16 February 2019.
The consultation on the future of Thrift Farm is scheduled to start on 13 February 2019. It was also agreed that any further decisions on the future of Thrift Farm, following consultation, will be taken by the full Cabinet.
Further information about Thrift Farm, the consultation and how to give you views can be found www.buckscc.gov.uk/thriftfarm The report and a recording of the meeting can be found here