It is a conflict that has been going on for more than a decade and threatens to jeopardize the family farm. This Thursday, the Court of Cassation rejected the appeal of Vincent Verschuere, in the case that opposes this dairy farmer from Saint-Aubin-en-Bray (Oise), to six neighbors of his farm and thus confirms the decision of the Court of Appeal of Amiens, Le Parisien learned which has been able to consult the judgment rendered by the court.
On 8 March 2022, the farmer was ordered to pay more than €100,000 in damages to these plaintiffs who were bothered by the smell of silage and the mooing of his animals. This decision was unacceptable for Vincent Verschuere and his parents, who had decided to appeal to the Court of Cassation, the last possible avenue of appeal in a court case.
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At the heart of this dispute, now erected as a symbol of threatened rurality, is this stable, built in 2010, located about forty meters from the first houses of this town of 1,000 inhabitants. The problem was that the regulatory distance was then set at 100 m. At the time, however, the Verschueres had benefited from a prefectural derogation as well as a building permit from the municipality. Much to the chagrin of local residents who had decided to take the matter to court. No solution has been found since.
"We're totally on this farmer's side 1,000%"
The Verschuere case has also become eminently political. In this conflict, the Hauts-de-France region voted an aid of 40,000 euros for the operator. "We are totally on the side of this farmer at 1,000%," insisted Xavier Bertrand, president (LR) of the region. A sum that had allowed the farmer - with an additional loan of 60,000 euros - to pay the damages claimed after his conviction on appeal.
The case is all the more political as this decision of the Court of Cassation comes two days after the National Assembly examined a bill aimed at better protecting farmers from local residents who are suing them for abnormal neighborhood disturbance in the case of anteriority.
"It's an important meeting," Luc Smessaert, vice-president of the Departmental Federation of Farmers' Unions (FDSEA) in Oise, recently told Le Parisien. This concerns 600 structures in France and it is the result of the fight we waged after the conviction of Vincent Vershuere. The text, adopted in committee, must now be voted on in the hemicycle.