Rural world faces ‘greatest period of uncertainty for a generation’

The new Chairman of the Isle of Wight branch of the CLA, Laurence Taylor, says rural businesses are facing great uncertainty – but that new opportunities as well as challenges await.

Mr Taylor has replaced Susie Sheldon in what is one of the most important rural roles on the Island.

Born and brought up on the family farm at Bembridge, Mr Taylor attended Ryde School before going on to read history at King’s College London and then qualifying as a solicitor.

Laurence Taylor, pictured at The Garlic Farm in Newchurch

After a spell in private practice in Devon he joined the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in London, advising various government departments on contentious property and commercial matters.

He left that role in 2014 to help run the family farm and rural property at Bembridge. The family business includes a small airport, commercial and residential properties and a holiday park.

Mr Taylor, a member of the CLA Isle of Wight branch since 2015, said he was “delighted and honoured” to be elected Chairman, representing landowners, farmers and rural businesses across the Island.

“I am taking over as Chairman at a time when farming and rural businesses are facing perhaps the greatest period of uncertainty they have faced for a generation.

“I hope to be able to help support the Island membership through a period which will undoubtedly present many challenges, but hopefully new opportunities as well, and to be an advocate for their concerns.”

CLA South East Regional Director Robin Edwards thanked Susie for her chairmanship and added: “We are delighted to welcome Laurence into the role and look forward to working closely with him over the next few years.”