The new Chairman of the Surrey branch of the CLA, Joosje Hamilton, says she is looking forward to championing rural businesses in the county at a time of economic, environmental and political uncertainty.
Mrs Hamilton replaced Lisa Creaye-Griffin at a committee meeting yesterday (Thursday), in one of the most important rural roles in the county.
Since 2016, Mrs Hamilton and her husband have run the Hamilton family estate in Betchworth in Surrey. It is a working agricultural estate, which has changed hands only twice by purchase since Domesday and is today still in the ownership of descendants of the family who bought it in 1816.
The current three generations of the Hamilton family, who live on the estate, are committed to ensuring its preservation and contribution to the continuing development of the Betchworth village community.
The estate takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and consists of 1,100 acres of farmland, about 150 acres of woodland, as well as a number of residential and commercial properties. It has a suckler beef herd, which grazes in the fields for the majority of the year, and arable production includes wheat, barley, oats, beans and oilseed rape.
In 2020, the Betchworth Estate acquired and started to manage the Betchworth Post Office and Village Shop. Its newly-created café serves its own signature blend coffee locally roasted in Betchworth.
Aside from managing the estate, Mrs Hamilton is a legal consultant advising on UK and EU antitrust and competition law issues, as well as chair of governors at a primary school in Reigate.
She said: “I am hoping to fulfil the role as Chair of the CLA Surrey branch committee as well as Lisa Creaye-Griffin has done over the past three years.
“I look forward to navigating the Government’s developing plans for the agricultural sector in the UK in these times of significant economic, environmental and political uncertainty, and to assisting the CLA in ensuring that views of rural land and business owners are clearly heard in Westminster.”
As Surrey branch Chairman, Mrs Hamilton will be representing farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the county.
CLA South East Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “We wish to place on record our sincere thanks to Lisa Creaye-Griffin for her tremendous work, ideas and enthusiasm over the course of her chairmanship.
“We are delighted to welcome Joosje Hamilton into the role and look forward to working closely with her over the next few years.”
Outgoing Chairman Lisa Creaye-Griffin said: “I have enjoyed my time as chairman of the CLA’s Surrey branch, and would like to thank the committee members for all their work.
“The changes to the law with the Agriculture Act and the Environment Act, along with changes due to Brexit and the increasing concern over changes to the climate that will impact the production of food and timber, make this an exciting and for some a worrying time to be living.
“However it is a good time to be working to help land managers make a livelihood from their land that can ensure a safe and secure future for their business and for the landscape and natural world. I welcome Joosje as our new chairman and look forward to working with her at the helm.”