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Visitor attraction redundancies at Greenmeadow Community farm Cwmbran

NINE jobs are at risk at a council-owned farm and visitor attraction after its full re-opening was delayed by two years.

Greenmeadow Community Farm in Cwmbran closed at the end of October so work on a £1.7 million overhaul could begin.

It was expected then the first phase of the revamp, to create a children’s indoor soft play area, would be be completed ahead of its re-opening this summer.

However, earlier in March Torfaen Borough Council confirmed the attraction would only partially re-open this year, with visitors able to visit its outdoor areas again, but the full overhaul wouldn’t be completed until spring 2025.

As a result of the delays the council, which had originally anticipated recruiting additional staff this summer, has confirmed it is consulting with existing staff on making them redundant.

Beth McPhearson, Torfaen council’s head of communities, said: “A consultation process has commenced with nine members of staff whose roles are at risk of redundancy.”

In October it was anticipated the attraction would require a staff of 14.5 full time equivalent posts, 5.75 of which would be new appointments.

The plan, backed by the full council in October, was to invest £1.7 million in the farm to enhance the 120-acre site as a visitor attraction with the addition of outdoor adventure activities including a zip-wire, indoor soft play area and licensed bar.

The farm would also see its council subsidy reduced, and eventually withdrawn, and become dependent instead on its own commercial income, with the goal of attracting more than 70,000 paying customers a year by 2026.

In March the council blamed inflation for spiraling costs of construction materials which had forced it to rethink some of the design and building plans, but said it still intended to deliver its “exciting aspirations” for the farm within the budget agreed by the council.

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Despite a report to the council in October stating it was intended to complete the revamp, subject to planning approval, which can be a lengthy process, by April 2023 the council this March also outlined a number of delays which has meant the development has not been in position to be considered for approval by planners.

Ms McPhearson said, while it is still intended for the farm to re-open in part this summer, no firm date has been set. She said: “We are still planning a partial reopening this summer but an exact date is not yet confirmed. More information should be available beginning of May.”