The Countryside Regeneration Trust has noted various social media posts and an online petition regarding the termination of the lease of a commercial unit at Pierrepont Farm held by Craft Brews Limited.

The Trust is a registered charity subject to the objects and purposes of the Trust, duties laid out by statute and oversight by the Charity Commission. The Trust’s board of trustees are also subject to fiduciary duties, including duties to act in the Trust’s best interests, manage the Trust’s resources responsibly, act with reasonable care and skill, and ensure that the Trust is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit.

Having been left Pierrepont Farm in the will of a generous donor in 2005, the Trust has carried out substantial works of development and improvement to the Farm including the commercial units. The trust is also responsible for the ongoing running and maintenance costs of the Farm, which must be paid for out of income derived from the Farm and the commercial units. The cost of the development and improvement works has been in the region of £2m. In order to fund those costs, the Trust is obliged to manage all the Trust’s assets in line with specialist advice and general commercial principles and subject to the objects of the Trust and the trustees’ fiduciary duties.

In order to comply with their duties, in 2021 the trustees obtained specialist advice on all its property assets including Pierrepont Farm and its commercial units and continued to take advice on the management of its property assets. In determining its long-term vision for the commercial units and their management (including the unit occupied by Craft Brews) the trustees were obliged to take due account of the specialist advice they had received as well as considering all other relevant factors. On the basis of that advice and having considered all the relevant factors, the Trust decided that it was appropriate to exercise its legal right under the lease and exercise the break option thereby terminating Craft Brews’ lease as of 30 November 2022.

It should be noted that in 2018, Craft Brews agreed to take a five year lease of the unit without any security of tenure and which would end in any event on 6 November 2023. It was also agreed that the lease would be subject to a break clause operable by either party subject to the earliest termination date being 7 November 2019. Since Craft Brews freely agreed to the break clause and that the lease would not have any security of tenure, the Trust find it surprising that Craft Brews should now object to the Trust exercising its legal rights to end the lease on 30 November.

Danielle Dewe, CEO

November Update

October Update