South East Wales

Kate Humble's rural skills centre backed

Kate Humble
Image caption Kate Humble says the Wye Valley is a good place to promote rural skills

Plans by BBC TV wildlife presenter Kate Humble to open a centre of excellence for rural skills on a Monmouthshire farm have been backed by councillors.

Meend Farm, near Penallt, would offer courses in sustainable farming skills, rural crafts and wildlife conservation.

Monmouthshire council's cabinet unanimously supported the idea with the local authority, which owns the land, retaining a 30% stake.

It hopes it will attract visitors to the county from across the UK.

The farm, which has been vacant since February, has been valued at £1.1m if sold for development, or £750,000 as a working farm.

Ms Humble, whose programmes include Springwatch and Lambing Live, said the centre would occupy a small part of the site which would continue to run as a working farm.

She said the business would allow people from all over the country to learn about how good food is produced and how to do it themselves.

Shortly after Thursday's cabinet meeting she tweeted: "Step closer to our rural skills centre happening.

Ms Humble, who lives in the Wye Valley, added: "Amazing support & imaginative thinking from Monmouthshire Council. Hard work starts now!"

A council spokesman said the plans were unanimously approved by the cabinet.

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