I am writing to you in my capacity as Chair of Usk Valley Conservation Group (UVCG) regarding the Welsh Government’s purchase of Gilestone Farm and their subsequent proposal to lease the site to the owners of the Green Man Festival.
As you may be aware, the Usk Valley Conservation Group (UVCG) is a community organisation formed of local residents from Talybont-on-Usk, a rural village of around 700 people situated in the Beacons National Park. UVGC is comprised of a significant proportion of those both living within the village and those with a vested interest in its future.
We have continued to raise our serious concerns about the Welsh Government’s proposed use of the site with a range of stakeholders. Should the Welsh Government’s proposals go ahead, this will cause irreparable environmental, ecological and social damage to the local area.
Through our continued scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s proposals, we have also become increasingly sceptical of the ‘value for money’ the lease of the property to the Green Man Festival represents to the Welsh taxpayer. This primarily stems from the apparent lack of due diligence that was undertaken by the Welsh Government took prior to purchasing the property.
We have recently received further evidence which further underlines our scepticism of the Welsh Government’s proposals for Gilestone Farm. Specifically, the report – found attached – which was commissioned by UVCG, and undertaken by Vectos Transport Planning, notes that while the Green Man Festival will continue to be hosted at the Glanusk Estate, it raises concerns that an intensification of activity at Gilestone Farm could result in the local transport network being significantly impacted.
The report outlines in detail potential measures that would need to be taken to alleviate stresses on the transport network as a consequence of the increased activity at Gilestone Farm. To mitigate the cumulative impact of the proposed future use of the site, a significant number of highways improvements would be required, with one proposed option being the construction of a new bridge across the Usk to provide for increased vehicular access, which could cost the taxpayer in the region of £2-£2.5 million.
It is also evident from the report that the proposed options for accommodating increased activity at Gilestone would be significantly disruptive for the local community, without it being clear whatsoever as to how they would benefit from the Green Man Festival’s proposals for the site.
In light of the attached report, and in your continued scrutiny of the proposals moving forward, we believe a number of questions need to urgently be addressed, including:
P J Darbyshire , Usk valley Conservation Group .