Council snubs bee breeder over land

A beekeeper says the council does not have the public's interests at heart by refusing to sell him a small parcel of land.

Tuesday, 25th April 2017, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:25 pm
Patrick Wayne in the wildlife garden tending to three of his hives.

Patrick Wayne, of Ironville, offered to buy just over four acres of Highfield Wood which backs onto his house just off Bullock Lane.

The father-of-one wanted to use part of the woods in order to breed a strain of queen honey bee which is resistant to the Varroa mite, which is decimating our honeybee population.

But, after agreeing the sale of the land with Patrick, the council backed out and has now submitted the land - a haven for wildlife, including snakes, bats and owls - to auction.

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Patrick said: “I am desperate to buy the wood as I need an area of it for a queen honey bee breeding program.

“I have offered to have the land registered as an area of special interest to wildlife, which Riddings Wood next to it is, to preserve it for future generations.

“I firmly believe that the public would prefer the area to be preserved and used for the breeding of pollinators.”

There has been a dramatic decline in the honey bee populationin the UK with the species under threat due to changes to the countryside.

Patrick said he had offered the council £30,000 and had since upped his offer to £40,000 - which he believed was a lot more than the land was worth.

He added: “I would prefer the public to decide whether the land goes to auction.

“Would the public actually want this financially, or prefer that it be used for pollinators and wildlife?”

A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “The council has a legal duty to get the best price for any land it sells. That means selling it at auction on the open market so any interested party has a fair and equal right to make an offer.

“Mr Wayne will be welcome to bid for this particular piece of woodland at auction along with anyone else who may be interested in the location.”