A farmer from Kilmarnock says that his family has been left devastated by a land deal with developers that has seen them lose their £27 million worth of land for just £350,000. Farmer Jamie McFadzean said that his father had even suffered a heart attack due to the fact that he realised that he had simply signed away the family fortune. It resulted in Mr McFadzean staging a sit-in protest at East Ayrshire Council chambers.
It all came about as George, the dad, agreed a contract in 2001 that would eventually see the 90 acre Northcraig Farm transfer in ownership to developers Hallam land Management for just £350,000. The land has been in the family since 1926. However in todays current value of Kilmarnock, land for sale reaches around £300,000 per acre.
Jamie’s argument is that his dad had agreed an initial £350,000 from the developers but on the understanding that further payments of substantial amounts would be made when house building commenced on the land. The land itself is situated next to the Southcraigs estate. According to Jamie another factor is that his 68 year old father was told by the developers that if work had not commenced within seven years then the deal was off and ownership would once again be in the hands of the family. However the exact opposite of this seems to have occurred.
He told the Kilmarnock Standard newspaper “My parents’ lives have been ruined by this. My Mum and Dad used to be happy people but not any more. The only reason my dad agreed to the deal was because he was assured that if nothing happened with the land-and as a consequence he didn’t get any extra payments-then at least it would return to our family. Instead, nothing happened, no extra payment was ever made and ownership after seven years remained with Hallam Land Management. When my dad discovered this was the case he collapsed with a heart attack-that’s how badly it has affected our family. We all live here and my dad and brother, David, still farm the land. It’s our lives and we’re seeing it being taken away for a pittance.”
Now, nine years on from signing the contract, the family face eviction from their home as HLM intend to now build at Northcraig. They intend to build 500 new homes on the farm site and are just about to submit their planning application to the local authority.
Jamie is now seeking legal advice about the original contract signed by his dad and the original lawyer, who is now the sheriff of a court in Ayrshire. Jamie has revealed that just before he signed with HLM, McLean Homes offered £11million for the whole site and the deal was concrete. But his dad asked his lawyers advice and together thought that HLM’s deal was better, this was all based on the clawback option after seven years. Jamie said that he can justify his dad’s reluctance to sign the deal with HLM the day before with paperwork that he has in his ownership. Although HLM declined to offer a comment to the Kilmarnock Standard newspaper in response to Jamie’s claims, there is no suggestion that any parties involved acted unlawfully in this land for sale case.