A DISTRICT councillor whose home is set to be sold off by Somerset County Council has described seeing 'for sale' signs going up at a local farm as a “black day for open government”.

Sue Osborne, who is the district councillor for Windwhistle, lives at Oxenford Farm near Dowlish Wake, which is due to be sold off.

Elsewhere other county council farms have already been sold off, including a property just across the road from Cllr Osborne.

This was despite a county council committee in September agreeing to suspend the sale of farms while a review was carried out.

The county council decided to sell off a large number of farms in 2010 to fund its capital investment programme as they were deemed surplus to requirements.

Now some farms have been sold off despite the review still being underway. Cllr Osborne also requested a call-in which would have seen the sale decision put on hold to be scrutinised.

Cllr Osborne said: “The day the ‘for sale’ signs went up was a black day for open government.

“At the September scrutiny meeting, they agreed to suspend the sale of county farms – assets, land, buildings, whatever – until they had done a review.”

A spokesperson for Somerset County Council; said: “The role of the scrutiny committee is to make recommendations to cabinet, but it does not set policy.

“The cabinet member accepted the recommendation for the setting up of a task and finish group but not for a delay in the sale of county farms – these have continued as per the current policy which was refreshed in 2010.

“The task and finish group has now concluded its work and will report back to the committee in December.”

Ahead of the October meeting, Cllr Osborne and her local county councillor Linda Piggott-Vijeh tried to call-in the sale decision.

This was not the first time the Oxenford resident has not received an answer from Somerset County Council after she was told in April she would have to submit a Freedom of Information request to get a response to a question.

Sue said: “I am a member of the public and the wife of a tenant, and I have every right if I ask a question to expect a response.”

Cllr Osborne submitted an FOI request but is still yet to receive a response.

She added: “It shows how difficult it is for the general public to ask a straight question and get a straight answer.

“We are supposed to be living with a system of open government, this is not North Korea.

“The council told my husband they couldn’t hold the sales because it was against policy.

"He has also been told that he is out of time to secure his future at our farm because there is less than a year to run on the tenancy.

"No other farmer has been told that.

“It is only in North Korea that entire families are punished for the actions of one. It is not just what is being done, it is the way they are doing it.”