TV presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams has given his backing to a campaign to save a family farm, near Cardiff Airport, from development. 

Multinational financial giant, Legal and General, which owns the land at Model Farm near Rhoose, was granted planning permission to develop the site in July 2021. 

The development will spell the end of the site as a haven for wildlife and nature and the end of its life as a working farm with tenants the Jenkins family having worked the land since 1935. 

While opponents of the proposed development won a legal battle to overturn the original planning permission – with the Vale of Glamorgan Council accepting there had been “procedural irregularities” in the original process – it relaunched a consultation after quashing the original decision last autumn. 

But the council has said it would not be able to reach a decision on the development while it waits to learn whether the Welsh Government would call in the decision. 

With campaigners continuing to oppose the potential development they reached out to Williams, who is well known for presenting nature programmes including Springwatch on the BBC as well as other shows on BBC Wales and S4C, for support 

In a short video message he called for the farm to be saved from development and said: “I just wanted to lend my support to Model Farm, Rhoose to stay as a wildlife farm and not be developed. 

“I think it is a real travesty that the locals and Wales is under threat of losing such a valuable wildlife habitat. Good luck Model Farm in your battle.” 


Legal and General claim a business park could create 4,375 jobs and attract £525 million investment, boosting the local economy. 

But opponents question the figures and say as the development is speculative argue there is little genuine interest to support those claims and fear if development is approved a change of use permission could be sort meaning there is no certainty over what the site’s ultimate use could be. 

Legal and General bought the farm several years ago, and it was earmarked for a major building project in 2017, as part of Vale of Glamorgan council’s local development plan. The site is also in one of eight enterprise zones in Wales, where the Welsh Government is focusing economic development and encouraging businesses to invest. 

The Jenkins family have said they would be “devastated” at having to leave the farm, but are hoping to continue their wildflower seed business, Wild Wales Seeds. 

Legal and General has claimed it would "preserve" and "enhance" the environment. Plans include three kilometres of new hedgerows, and planting five acres of scrub and woodland, as well as extending Porthkerry Country Park. 

The planning permission was quashed due to “procedural irregularities” surrounding the disclosure of the viability of the site during the planning process. 

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