Greenmeadow Community Farm wins £255k to help reopen

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Feeding animals at Greenmeadow Community FarmImage source, Andy Roberts
Image caption,
The farm is usually open daily for 11 months of the year but has been closed during the pandemic

A community farm will get a cash injection of £255,000 after a warning it could "wither on the vine and die".

Torfaen councillors have agreed to fund safety improvements at the Greenmeadow attraction in Cwmbran.

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

Most of the money will be spent on maintenance to ensure the farm - which is closed due to coronavirus - is safe to reopen to visitors in February.

The cash also includes £15,000 from revenue reserves to be spent on small-scale enhancements, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Image source, Andy Roberts
Image caption,
Council leaders have taken a close look at the farm's running costs in recent years

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

Councillor Elizabeth Haynes told members: "I've always been of the opinion with the farm that we either need to invest heavily and turn it into a business model or we need to close it, and that for me hasn't changed.

"However, we are in unprecedented times this year, and with the impact of Covid on the farm - and its ability to bring in funding - I believe we have a moral obligation to subsidise the farm and make some investment at this time."

Keith Rutherford, Torfaen's chief officer for social care and housing, said support was urgently needed and the farm could not reopen without it.

"If we don't make this investment it's going to wither on the vine and die," he said.

Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for children, families and communities, welcomed the full council's vote to commit the cash.

"This decision to grant these additional funds will undoubtedly support our endeavour to offer a more innovative and imaginative design at the farm," she said.

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