A COMMUNITY farm that has been closed for more than a year has taken a step towards reopening with plans for new buildings approved.
Councillors have granted planning permission for a new playbarn at Greenmeadow Community Farm, in Cwmbran, as well as extensions and alterations to the existing farmhouse for a café.
Landscaping plans which will provide level access at the entrances and a redesign of the car park to create additional parking have also been approved by Torfaen Borough Council’s planning committee.
The visitor attraction is owned and operated by the borough council, which in September unanimously agreed to press ahead with the redevelopment of the farm at a further cost of £1.6 million.
The farm had closed in November 2022 for a £1.7 million makeover, but those plans stalled due to rising costs and this September the council was asked if it wished to press ahead with revised plans or pull the plug entirely on the farm.
The plans approved by the planning committee include a glazed conservatory that will project from the back of the existing farmhouse to create a new café and alterations, including new windows, to an existing barn that will be used for events.
A new barn will also be constructed, to the southeast of the farmhouse, and will house play facilities as part of the intention of creating indoor attractions.
A new pedestrian access from the car park to the front of the farmhouse is also planned so visitors no longer have to share a path with vehicles.
Planning officer Tom Braithwaite said it is intended to add an additional 14 or 15 spaces in the car park but there have been “difficulties” in creating a turning space for buses so a condition would allow officers to agree the final details.
Mr Braithwaite described the application as: “Some fantastic additions to an already brilliant community farm site and the recommendation is for approval.”
He added a second application for other parts of the site is also due to be submitted to the council.
Pontypool Fawr Labour member Gaynor James said: “It’s very exciting for the farm and well done to everybody who has put the work in.”
The application was approved unanimously.