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Deal off for farm at centre of stink row

The owners of a dairy farm accused by neighbours of causing a stink have rejected a potential buyer after news of the sale was made public before it was finalised.

Lidia and Valter Medeiros knocked back the offer and accused the “suitor” interested in buying Green Land Dairy Farm on Store Hill in Smith's of telling the Department of Health he was the new owner before a deal was agreed.

Armell Thomas, senior environmental health officer, e-mailed some residents after the health department was contacted to tell them about the sale without checking with the Medeiros family that it was signed and sealed.

Mrs Medeiros said: “It's done, it's finished. We walked away because we told the potential buyer specifically ‘keep all this under your hat' until the time comes.

“When he started going around to all the agencies, without our permission, and telling everyone that he was buying the farm, well, this one [Valter] went off.”

The Royal Gazette obtained Mr Thomas's e-mail and quoted from it in an article on October 12, along with comments from a Department of Health spokeswoman and Michael Dunkley, the MP for Smith's North, who both said they were aware that sale discussions were under way but had not been completed.

Mrs Medeiros declined to comment for that story.

But yesterday she said: “The newspaper article finished it. That's when we found out he was going around telling everybody something.

“There were no lawyers involved, no money had been exchanged. Yes, he was a suitor. He was after the farm, but nothing had been concreted.

“It was very poorly handled and Armell should have known better than to just start putting out e-mails and information that wasn't true or was unverified.”

She added: “The farm is not for sale. I mean, hey, everything is for sale, but we are not thinking of selling the farm.”

Mr Medeiros said: “When you have money in your hand, then it's concrete.”

The couple, who took over the farm in 2014, have been under pressure to get rid of a manure smell caused by their 120 cows after complaints from residents.

Mr Thomas said in his e-mail to residents that the “new owner” wanted to reduce the “nuisance complaints and move forward in the best possible way for the public”.

Mr Medeiros said he now emptied the farm's manure pit once every 2½ months so it never got the chance to fill up.

He added: “The smell part, I think, is finished.”

Mrs Medeiros said: “We are quite confident that there are no more issues. There are, from time to time, whiffs, we know that that's happening. But that strong pungent smell from a year and a half ago is gone.”

However, one area resident disagreed.

Emma Leitch, who lives near by, said: “I really hoped that they'd solved the problem, as the smell wasn't very noticeable over the spring and summer; really so much better. But now over the last few weeks, there have been several days when I can't even watch my children play outside because of the horrible smell from the farm.

“I have to keep my doors and windows closed on nice days because of the nauseating smell. I know others who have it worse, but it's really a bummer for us.”

Mr and Mrs Medeiros said plans for a waste digester had been dropped because engineers found it would not work on a small farm.

They said they wanted to work with neighbours and encouraged them to call the farm with any problems.

It was not possible to get a comment from the Department of Health by press time.

No deal: Valter and Lidia Medeiros, owners of Green Land Dairy Farm (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published October 24, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 24, 2018 at 10:26 am)

Deal off for farm at centre of stink row

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