Johnstone & Wightman welcome ruling which saves Jim's Farm

Alison Johnstone and Andy Wightman, Scottish Green MSPs for Lothian, today (3 Oct) welcomed a ruling which prevents a farmer being removed from his Midlothian home so landlords can sell the site to developers proposing a film studio.

Alison and Andy have campaigned in support of Jim Telfer who faced eviction from smallholdings at Damhead where Scottish Ministers controversially gave planning approval for a film studio in December last year.

Now the Scottish Land Court has found that the landlord has no lawful grounds to resume Mr Telfer’s tenancy.

Alison and Andy said:

“We welcome this decision from the Scottish Land Court. It is clear that the landlord has no lawful grounds to resume Jim Telfer’s tenancy. Quite why the landlord, the developers and some voices within the Scottish film industry ignored the fact that a sitting tenant has legal rights that have now been upheld is for them to explain. 

“We have been consistent in our support for our constituent throughout this process and hope that the stress and anxiety facing Jim and his family is now over. It is now incumbent on industry and the Scottish Government to deliver the much needed national film studio on a site where development would be lawful.”

Scottish Ministers issued a decision on 21 December 2017 intimating that they were minded to consent to the development of a film studio at Damhead. Industry sources suggested that it could be built by the end of 2018.

The Scottish Land Court ruled on 1 October 2018 that the application by the landlord to resume the whole of Smallholdings No. 1 and 2 on Pentland Mains Farm “should be refused for want of a reasonable purpose in relation to the good of the estate” The Court observed that “this estate does not need a film studio” and that “resumption followed by a sale of the whole estate could not be for the good of the estate because no estate would remain in the hands of the landlord”.