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Protest outside Senedd at plans to concrete over family farm to build business park

21 Aug 2021 2 minute read
Kelly Ball, Rhys Jenkins and their two daughters, and Gethin Jenkins, at Model Farm. Photo Gareth Williams, courtesy of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Campaigners gathered outside the Senedd today to protest against plans to turn a family farm east of Cardiff Airport into a 45-acre business park.

Legal and General, a financial services firm that owns the land, received planning permission last month to build a business park on the farm.

Kelly Ball, husband Rhys Jenkins and their two daughters, aged one and three years old, and Rhys’s father Gethin, currently live on Model Farm. Four generations of the family have farmed there since 1935.

Around 200 protestors gathered in the rain on the steps of the Senedd today to oppose the decision.

Plaid Cymru South Central MS Rhys ab Owen attended the demonstration to represent Plaid Cymru, alongside Vale of Glamorgan Councillors Nic Hodges, Ian Johnson, and Anthony Slaughter of the Green Party.

“Plaid Cymru has consistently voted against this development when it was included in the Local Development Plan in 2017 and in last month’s planning committee,” Rhys ab Owen said.

“I have asked the Welsh Government for an assessment of the environmental impact of a business park on this greenfield site.”

Vale of Glamorgan councillor and Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, also voiced his opposition to the plans.

“The number of people gathering outside the Senedd today demonstrates the strength of feeling about the council’s decision to allow Model Farm to be bulldozed to make way for a business park,” he said.

Legal and General however said the business park would create more than 3,000 jobs and bring in £94 million of wages each year. The council said it would help support the local economy.

Kelly Ball had previously said that Legal and General had not even had the courtesy to meet with them.

“We’ve been given 12 months, until July 31 next year,” she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service. “They handed our notice to use on July 31 just gone, with a letter delivered by an enforcement officer. It’s shocking how they’re treating us.

“Rhys will try to carry on the farm. Maybe something might come up between now and in 12 months time. But at the minute it’s all up in the air. As a family, we’re just devastated.”

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