AN UPDATE on plans to secure the long-term future of Cwmbran’s popular Greenmeadow Community Farm will come out in the autumn.

Torfaen council is considering several ways of putting the farm on sounder financial footing as it considers withdrawing £200,000 from its budgets.

Opening hours, staffing levels and catering facilities could be affected by the proposed cuts, which have been widely opposed by councillors and members of the public.

With a decision on the changes expected in June, Cllr Jason O’Connell asked the leadership to confirm what work had been do so far.

Deputy leader Cllr Richard Clark said on Tuesday: “It was agreed that we would look at seven recommendations and that would come forward to a cabinet report.

“It is hoped that the report will be taken in the autumn. The recommendations are being dealt with in detailed impact assessments and assigned costings.”


The recommendations made by a council task and finish group are as follows:

  • Keep the farm as it is, while encouraging more council activities elsewhere in the borough to relocate, cutting property costs and bringing in revenue savings elsewhere
  • Sell around 50 acres of surplus land near the farm and reinvest the income back into the farm
  • Make staffing changes to save £48,000, with redundancies or redeployment of council staff expected
  • Review onsite catering facilities, particularly the flexibility of allowing vending machines for drinks and pre-prepared snacks in the shop. If agreed, the kitchen would be kept.
  • Limiting opening hours to spring and summer only and/or opening only on weekends during autumn and winter (excluding school holidays and events such as Halloween or Christmas) while still allowing the farm to be used as a community hub for groups.
  • Change the way the farm is run by installing a shadow board and assigning an executive member from the council onto the board
  • Transfer responsibility for the farm’s budget from the council’s social care and housing department to neighbourhoods, planning and public protection

Greenmeadow Community Farm needs £800,000 a year to run and brings in around £50,000 in venue – but Torfaen council puts in £300,000 annually to keep it going.

But budget pressures which led to £3.5 million in cuts for 2019/20 saw the council propose reducing its subsidy by 66 per cent.

In April, Cllr O’Connell asked the leadership to clarify its long-term vision for Greenmeadow Community Farm, adding that it was unclear whether it was being developed with an educational, tourism or industrial focus.

At the same meeting, Cllr Fay Jones underlined the importance of the council involving residents and community groups such as Friends of Greenmeadow Community Farm in any future plans.

A petition created by the group, which is just shy of its 4,000-signature target, was handed into the local authority in May.