Community farm in Cwmbran 'needs long-term vision'

Feeding animals at Greenmeadow Community Farm Image copyright Andy Roberts
Image caption The farm is open seven days a week for 11 months of the year but may have to cut its hours

A long-term vision is needed to secure the future of a community farm threatened with a £200,000 funding cut, Torfaen councillors have said.

The Greenmeadow attraction in Cwmbran could see major changes to its opening hours, staffing and catering offer.

Around 50 acres of surplus land could be sold to raise funds for investment.

Tory councillor Jason O'Connell said it was unclear whether the site was being developed as an educational asset, tourist attraction or working farm.

"Until we come to a decision on what we want the farm to be, we are very much flapping in the wind, trying to be all things to all people," he told a council seminar.

A working farm for 250 years, it was saved by a group of enthusiasts in the 1980s who feared it would be lost to development.

The council-run attraction is open daily to visitors for 11 months of the year, hosting school trips and events, including an annual food and produce show.

However it faces a subsidy cut as Torfaen seeks £3.5m savings to balance its budget.

Image copyright Andy Roberts
Image caption Council leaders warned that the costs of running the farm were increasing every year

Fay Jones, of the ruling Labour group, said the authority had to work with the farm and community to develop future plans.

"It's a jewel in the crown and I think it's awful we are having to go down this road of taking money off it," she said.

Independent councillor Dave Thomas accused the council of allowing the farm to deteriorate, questioning whether the authority even wanted it, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Peter Jones, who chairs the group tasked with finding the necessary cuts, said the proposals were aimed at scaling back the farm's offering.

He added: "Nowhere are we suggesting there should be any long term threat to this farm."

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