The canal bridge is closed in both directions in Talybont- on-Usk. Please do NOT move the signs and bollards to drive across. It is dangerous! Foot and bicycle traffic is fine, which is why the bridge is still down. There is a leak from the canal and a risk of further collapse from automobile traffic. To access Aber, the reservoir and beyond, use the Cross Oak Road.
The Canal and River Trust is monitoring the situation twice a day. We met with them this morning. A crew will be out on Tuesday for a full assessment.
Powys CC has already been alerted.
Gilestone Farm Stakeholder Meeting
17 March 2023
Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon
In conclusion, it was noted that this meeting had been called specifically with stakeholders who would play a formal role of the project should it progress. It was hoped that this meeting would seek to agree a way forward and to ensure that the locals are provided with accurate and timely information on the project.
It was confirmed that there was a current Farm Business Tenancy in place at Gilestone Farm until October 2023. It was noted that no decisions would be taken at this meeting on the future of the site and that a decision would be taken by Welsh Government Ministers. It is intended that advice will shortly be submitted to the Minister for Economy for a decision on the next stages of the process.
Several attendees noted the importance of a strong Communications Strategy to accurately communicate with the local community and to allow for open and honest discussion. This was unanimously agreed.
Presentation by Green Man
A presentation was made by representatives of Green Man summarising the main activities proposed for the site.
Questions and Discussion
The Community Council representative and the County Councillor noted the need for more information on how these plans would affect the community day to day. The plan needed to be placed in the context of the village and individual villagers, for example information provided on the potential increased traffic and noise. It was noted that this work would form part of the licensing assessment with the local authority and would be undertaken before relevant activities were allowed to proceed.
The County Councillor noted the current traffic issues in Talybont-on-Usk and highlighted the previous discussions around a car park for the village and the lack of pavement. The County Councillor felt strongly that these issues would need to be discussed and form part of a wider support package for the community from the relevant stakeholders if agreement for the lease of the site is reached.
It was queried whether a full environmental assessment would be undertaken before any activities proceeded. Representatives of Green Man confirmed that all necessary assessments would be undertaken prior to the commencement of any activities.
The Community Council representative observed that at the Green Man Festival, the attendees leave the site and travel into Crickhowell and noted that this could cause issues in the village. Representatives from Green Man noted that this is encouraged as the local business community in Crickhowell want the attendees to contribute to the local economy. It was noted that this can be tailored to individual projects and if the local community want attendees for the smaller scale events planned for Gilestone to remain on site, then this can be controlled.
The Leader of Powys County Council noted that the current challenges faced by the county were extremely serious. The demographics of the county had changed significantly towards an economically inactive demographic over a number of years and that change was accelerating. The level of challenges faced by local infrastructure such as the school system and the health system were huge and unfortunately getting worse. The Leader noted that it was imperative that proposals such as this were given due consideration in order to try and provide economic opportunities to ensure that the county was able to retain and maintain families and economic activity.
The official from Powys County Council noted that the local authority were in principle open to considering developments such as the one proposed here, subject to all the necessary detail being provided and properly considered. It was also noted that the local authority was not really in a position to formally engage on the project until a decision had been made by a Welsh Government Minister on the next stage of the process.
An official from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority agreed with the views of Powys County Council and the importance of giving due consideration to developments such as proposed. It was noted that Brecon Beacons National Park Authority would also be open to the production of a holistic plan which could properly consider this proposal with its significant opportunities within the wider place and public policy setting and which would coincide with the consideration of this proposal. This would need to be independently facilitated given the differing views within the community.
A further discussion was held around the potential for noise at the small scale events proposed for the site. Representatives of Green Man noted that an initial noise levels assessment had been undertaken by an external expert however more assessment would be needed on being granted access to the site. It would be intended that noise sensors would be placed all around the valley to live monitor the noise escaping from the site to ensure compliance.
More information was requested on the jobs proposed to be created. Representatives from Green Man noted that these would be attractive skilled jobs across a range of different areas within the Green Man brand and in addition, the proposed Creative Hub would also create jobs, promote entrepreneurship and offering business mentoring to emerging businesses.
Representatives from Green Man asked what they could do to work with the community to help aid their concerns. They noted that this proposal is an attempt to develop economic activity in an area of Wales that had traditionally been difficult to develop. It was noted that environmental issues were at the heart of everything that Green Man does and the last thing that they want to do is undertake any activity that will go against those core issues. It was noted by locally elected members that communication is key and the community deserves to know the detail of what is planned. Representatives of Green Man noted that they understand and are happy to provide that information however they also noted that there had been a major breakdown of trust with individuals being unfairly targeted in public.
The Chair noted that representatives of Green Man had been requesting a communications plan be agreed for the proposal for some time however Welsh Government had been unable to agree to this request until a decision had been taken by the Minister. It was unanimously agreed that a joint Communications Strategy should be devised if the Ministerial decision is made to proceed to formal lease negotiations. Creative Wales will contact all representatives to advise once the decision had been taken. It was agreed that this Communications Strategy would include community feedback.
Discussions were held about potential options to allow the local community to learn more about the proposals and provide their views. The representative from the Community Council and the County Councillor were asked to discuss this with the Community Council at their meeting of 20 March and provide feedback to Creative Wales officials on how this could be achieved.
It was agreed that a formal note of this meeting would be drafted by Creative Wales officials and shared with all attendees for accuracy before being finalised.
Old or young, Big or small, Woman or man (or other).
Be a councillor. Be the change.
Another casual vacancy for cooption has arisen on the Community Council.
Details are available on our website. www.talybont.org
The council will receive official minutes from the WG by April 27th, documenting the meeting with Fiona Stewart and key stakeholders in regards to Gilestone Farm. We will publish them immediately. We will also be sharing the questions that have been put forth by your Council to the WG throughout the past year.
In the meantime here are notes that were taken at the meeting by Chairman S. Baldwin and Cllr. Cartwright.
• A meeting was held at Theatr Bycheiniog on Friday March 17th to update on Gilestone Farm. The meeting was called by the Welsh Government and was attended by officials and elected representatives from Powys County Council including local County Councillor Anita Cartwright, Simon Baldwin as Chair of Talybont-on-Usk Community Council, and the CEO and Vice Chair of the Brecon Beacons National Parks Authority.
• The objectives of the proposal were stated as responding to the critical risks facing Powys today, being the environmental crisis and particularly a significantly ageing population. They aim to reverse the social decline and contribute to a Rural Creative Cluster, of small businesses. This responds specifically to Welsh Government objectives as laid out in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. Also to the Brecon Beacons National Parks key objective to ‘let nature and communities thrive’
• The meeting was the beginning of the consultation process. The Community Council will remain as a statutory consultee alongside the National Park, Powys County Council and NRW, for both licensing and planning as the project develops. This will involve a chance to feedback on specific details relating to each aspect of the scheme.
• The environmental impact will be properly assessed and managed. Details on environmental procedures will be forthcoming at a later stage. It was noted that the Green Man team have experience of sensitively managing activity on a SSSI and SAC. Welsh Government have a statutory obligation to ensure adequate protections.
• Proposals are based around enhancing the activity that already occurs on-site and visitor numbers are not expected to increase significantly from those reported by the current tenant. No new buildings are proposed.
• This involves;
1. A Creative Hub of small businesses: The businesses on-site are invited to stay, these include a marquee business, market garden, an electrician, woodworkers and training providers. Other similar businesses will be invited to fill vacant buildings and benefit from the connection to the Green Man brand. A brewery, bakery and baking school are proposed. Apprenticeships, training and jobs are expected to be created.
2. A permanent base for the Green Man Trust, the charitable arm of Green Man: This has supported 10,000 people to date from offering opportunities for young people to access training and skills to supporting local community groups, including those affected by recent flooding of the Usk.
3. Farming. To improve on existing farming activity as part of the sustainable farming scheme. This includes a move towards regenerative farming with the objective of reducing phosphates and increasing biodiversity. For example, via no-plough meadows on the floodplain.
4. Tourism. Also developing on what is already on site in terms of glamping accommodation, to create a green eco-retreat.
5. Live experience events which are ‘family friendly and based around wellbeing, science and the Arts.’ For example, partnerships with Universities to provide interactive science engagement workshops. A garden festival, talks and yoga were also mentioned. Events will be carbon neutral and powered entirely by alternative energy. Noise will be carefully managed so that outside the site it is quieter than a tractor (under 90 decibels). This will be monitored by noise level readers around the perimeter. A traffic management plan will be provided as part of the licensing process, which the Community Council will have the opportunity to scrutinise as a statutory consultee. Visitors can be managed so they do not enter the village, should the community request this. It is expected for only one weekend event to occur in 2024. This will be small in nature so that the specificities of the site and mitigation of risks can be fully understood. There are no plans to offer festivals similar to the Green Man, which will remain at Glanusk.
• All parties present including Welsh Government, the Green Man team, Powys County Council and the National Park are committed to supporting the village, given it is already a honeypot tourist destination within Wales, Powys and the National Park. It was suggested that their representatives join the community in developing a Destination Plan for the Village. For example, to look at improving local facilities and infrastructure, including investigating funding opportunities.
• All parties are equally keen to listen to the view of the Community. A roadshow style event was suggested, where residents can see the ideas presented on boards and speak to representatives of the key stakeholders. Would the Community Council like to take this offer forward?
April 17th, 2023
Cllrs Parry (Chair), E. Moorman (clerk)
and G Thomas. G. James joined the meeting via Zoom.
1 Apologies for absence -Cllr. C Burdon, J Short
2 Declarations of Interest -None
3 Approve minutes of the 23rd of March 2023
The Minutes of the 23rd of March 2023 were accepted as a true record with two amendments proposed. Cllr Parry was not present. Cllr Jones resigned at the end of the meeting.
4 Matters Arising
Alice Thorne and Eifion Jones have been contacted about the state of the tramroad. It was decided to send a follow up email for the Warden’s contact details.
It was decided to follow up on Karl Speed’s presentation with a question about parking and to see if the slide show was available to share with councillors that were not present at the meeting.
It was decided to follow up on sound testing for roof on The Market, station road from planning applications.
After the attendees of the meeting were read a statement from Councillor Cartwright in response to the emails sent to all councillors from members of the UVCG, it was decided that the council should respond to Cllr. Cartwright and follow up on information about a ‘Roadshow’ that none of us have been informed about.
An email from Nina Krauzevicz suggesting a community assembly for dealing with Gilestone and other contentious matters was approved by all and it was decided to discuss it with the County Councillor and form a working group to create a plan. Assembly in June.
It was decided that all OVW emails should be shared by the clerk with the full council and that emails containing information of relevant interest should be promptly shared on the Council Facebook page and Talybont-on-Usk Community page to keep the public informed.
6 Clerk Position
It was decided to contact 3 of the applicants for interviews. Cllr. Burdon, G. James, G. Thomas and E. Moorman to conduct. Date TBD amongst the 4 councillors.
7 Coopting Councillor
It was decided to send out an application form, approved at the meeting, for those who have already expressed interest in the position to submit to the council for further assessment. Interviews to be conducted in May.
8 Gilestone Farm
It was decided to contact the WG requesting minutes from the meeting held on March 17th and pursue a follow up meeting.
It was decided to collate all the questions put forth by the Council and send them in a follow up email to the WG.
It was decided to post these questions and all correspondence between the council and the WG for the public record on the Council website.
9 Nepali Invitation
It was decided that all councillors should be advised to decline the invitation to the celebration. It was also decided to invite them for a presentation to the council at our June meeting.
It was decided to schedule the AGM for May 15th at 7pm.
All paper work to be distributed in advance for approval.
Other decisions are below.
Standing orders We will have a no filming policy.
All meetings will be recorded and recordings held for 6 months. Public speaking must be requested in advance of the meeting. 15 minutes total per meeting will be allocated for public speaking. 3 minutes maximum length of time per speaker.
Annual Report to be compiled and posted.
Council Training Plan will require New Councillor Induction and Code of Conduct. Outside trainings and qualifications will be included on the website. The Council will pursue a placeplan training.
Financial Regulations cheques will require dual signatories
Biodiversity Plan will be created by a working group including members of the community.
GDP Regs it was decided we do not need a data officer as our website does not accept payments and hold elector’s information. It was decided that every councillor should have a designated email account strictly for council business. It was decided that all emails to the clerk have immediate reply that they have been received. It was decided the clerk should be cc’d on all council emails and that emails that are received by councillors that do not have the clerk cc’d should be replied to with the statement, that emailing the clerk is the council protocol.
Well-being for future generations it was decided that this should be included on the website and Cllr Burdon should be asked to coordinate as it is his area of expertise
Freedom of Information Policy/Procedure It was decided this should be included on the website.
Filing a complaint Policy/Procedure It was decided that this should be included on the website.
11 Defibrillator census
It was decided that we should pursue another defibrillator being installed at the youth hostel for residents and visitors in more rural areas.
It was decided that we should organize another training session for use of a defib as it has been a long time. Date TBD
Cllr Moorman to submit the census to the NHS/POWYS
12 Canal Matters
It was decided to schedule another meeting ASAP
It was decided to intensely pursue payment of the outstanding insurance claim.
It was decided to find out who is in charge of dog waste bin on the canal path.
It was decided that the parks old/new name was not difficult to pronounce!
It was decided to schedule another meeting asap on the same date as CRT and reconfirm our agenda. It was decided to push the SWOT conversation for a place plan to May meeting.
14 Highway Matters
It was confirmed to set the date for meeting Jo Lancey. April 19th, 2:30pm. Pot holes before drawbridge and yellow lines are on the agenda.
15 County Councilor Report - none
16 Applications for Planning Consent -none
It was agreed to check the last minutes for an error in the current acct total.
It was agreed to purchase a Jabra speaker for around £100
Date of next Ordinary Meeting 15th May 2023
Held at Henderson Hall commencing at 7.15pm as a hybrid meeting
Are you interested in securing the health and wealth of the flora and fauna of our valley? Collaboration is king! We are seeking keen nature-lovers to work with the council on forming a 3 year biodiversity plan. If this is you, send an email to email@example.com. We'd love you to be part of our working group.