In March 2022, the Welsh Government acquired Gilestone Farm for £4.25 million but a lack of clarity about plans for the site including a proposal to move Green Man festival there has caused serious upset in the local community. James Evans MS wants the site to be used for an agricultural college which would provide educational training for the farmers of tomorrow.
In May this year (2023), the Welsh Government agreed that the process of moving forward to the next stage, by approving access by licence, for Green Man representatives to undertake environmental and other surveys, and that formal commercial lease negotiations with Green Man will commence.
On the 8th of June, James Evans MS convened a public meeting in Talybont on Usk to get an update on the latest information on the lease negotiations for Gilestone Farm.
Since its purchase, Welsh Government have repeatedly said they will consult with the community before any decision is made however this has yet to come to fruition.
Speaking in the Senedd, James said.
“Now the Welsh Government has Gilestone farm, I believe, and a lot of other people believe, that would be a perfect place for an agricultural college.” He continued “ that land can be used for farming and to help the next generations of young farmers. So, will the Welsh Government meet with me and others to take this proposal forward, because we all believe that that is a better use for that land, other than use for a festival?”
James went on to say:
“There is huge concern about the £4.25 million purchase by the Welsh Government of Gilestone Farm, and the due diligence as well as the potential future land use for that area.
“South Powys needs an agricultural college because of the long travel times that people in my constituency have to get that provision – Gilestone would be the perfect site for such a college.
“However, I don’t think Welsh Government Ministers have really thought things through, with the Minister’s admission that they might even sell the site!”
James's latest letter to the First Minister, Mark Drakeford can be found below.