The protest group campaigning to save a farm in the Vale of Glamorgan from being concreted over and turned into an industrial park is calling upon the Welsh Government to put a stop to the development once and for all. It comes after the Vale Council launched a new consultation on the proposals in recent days. 

Multinational financial giant, Legal & General, who own the land at Model Farm near Rhoose, was granted planning permission to develop the site in July of last year, as reported by The National. The Jenkins tenant farming family have lived and worked on the farm since 1935.

A protest ensued and a legal fight was launched to overturn the decision by the Vale of Glamorgan County Council. The council accepted there had been “procedural irregularities” surrounding the disclosure of the viability of the site during the process to grant planning and quashed the application in the autumn of 2021. 

The National Wales: The Jenkins Family. Several generations of the family have farmed the land at Model Farm near Rhoose. The Jenkins Family. Several generations of the family have farmed the land at Model Farm near Rhoose.

In a statement, the Labour-led Vale of Glamorgan Council told The National: “The Council is waiting to learn whether an application to develop land on the Model Farm site near Rhoose will be considered by Welsh Government ministers.

“Welsh Government has indicated that the Council should not grant permission until a decision on this matter has been reached.

“In the meantime, the application has been re-entered onto the Council system and will be considered by its Planning Committee in due course, subject to Welsh Government direction.

“A consultation on this application has been launched and letters sent to interested parties asking for their views. Development viability information has been published on the Council’s planning portal and anyone with views on the application can share them on the Council website.

“This application was first considered by the Council’s Planning Committee in July and later approved after a Section 106 legal agreement was reached. That decision was subsequently quashed by the Courts in October.”

The National Wales: Maxine Levett, who has been campaigning against the proposed development at Model Farm. Photo: Siriol GriffithsMaxine Levett, who has been campaigning against the proposed development at Model Farm. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

Maxine Levett, who launched the judicial review last year, says local residents are once again very worried about the latest developments at Model Farm: "We have received emails to invite us to input comments on the viability aspect.

"When planning was granted last year, the council had failed to make available to the public the viability evidence, proposals and correspondence, and draft planning obligation which led to the substantial reduction in planning contributions. The council unlawfully did not share this information with the public which then led to the quashing of planning permission on Model Farm.

"Lots of the documents and plans on the original application are now very dated. Costs indicated have risen in terms of inflation as a result of Brexit and Covid.

"The local sewage works is at over-capacity and this wasn’t even reflected in the original application for example. And there are a myriad of other considerations to be taken into account. So we need the Welsh Government to put a stop to this now, especially given they've declared a nature and climate emergency.

"How can concreting over a productive family farm be right in those circumstances?"

The National Wales: The Vale Communities Unite group has campaigned against the development at Model Farm since it was first mooted. Photo: Siriol GriffithsThe Vale Communities Unite group has campaigned against the development at Model Farm since it was first mooted. Photo: Siriol Griffiths

South Wales Central MS Andrew RT Davies has once again slammed the plans at Model Farm and has written to Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, demanding that the application be called in.   

And he has contacted the Vale of Glamorgan Planning Department to request an urgent meeting on the processes surrounding the application.   

“Concreting over Model Farm would be a betrayal of our community," said Mr Davies. "This new consultation is an opportunity to make that clear once again.   

“The Council have declared both climate and nature emergencies. This unnecessary development would completely undermine that.   

“The Vale Communities Unite group uncovered serious procedural errors with the initial planning decision. It was therefore rightly quashed.    

“When planning applications are submitted, we have a right to expect they will be dealt with properly. Given these errors, we cannot be expected to have confidence in the process.   

“I’ve therefore written to the Minister to request the application is called in. And I’ve requested a meeting with Vale planners to discuss the process moving forward.”  

READ MORE: Welsh climate minister accused of 'dodging question' on corporate tree-planting

The local Plaid Cymru group also oppose the development. Local councillor, Steffan Wiliam, told The National: “It is highly disappointing that the planning application for Model Farm has been re-instated this quickly. 

“Both Welsh Government and the Vale of Glamorgan Council have declared climate change and nature emergencies.  

“There is no way that a development on greenfield land, designed for the aviation industry, can co-exist with policies to reduce climate change and promote nature and biodiversity. 

“More than that, the plans impact on the livelihood of local farmers who have worked the land at Model Farm for generations. 

“For all those reasons and more, Plaid councillors voted against these plans last time. 

“Before these plans progress any further, Welsh Government Ministers should make it clear that the Model Farm proposals are unacceptable.”  

The Welsh Government was approached for comment. 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.