UK

Brithdir Mawr eco-community land ‘to be sold’ when lease ends

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Media captionBrithdir Mawr’s land and buildings will be sold when the 15-year lease ends in December

An eco-community will have to raise £1m or leave after being told its land and buildings will be sold when the lease ends in December.

Members of the Brithdir Mawr community near Newport, Pembrokeshire, have been given first refusal to purchase the 80-acre (32 hectare) site.

Brithdir Mawr is off-grid, with electricity being generated by solar panels and a wind turbine on the site.

Land owner Julian Orbach said he “very much” wanted the community to continue.

Ten adults and seven children live at Brithdir Mawr on a partially communal basis, with the farmhouse as the main hub.

Image caption The main community hub is at the farmhouse

It was established in 1993 by Mr Orbach with his then wife, and a number of low-impact buildings were constructed around the farmhouse at the site without planning permission.

In 1998, the buildings were spotted from the air by the authorities, and the community faced planning battles to retain them.

The developments at Brithdir Mawr led to the establishment of the Welsh Government’s One Planet policy which permits low-impact dwellings in the countryside.

Mr Orbach said he had been hoping the community would buy the land for the past 10 years, and members told BBC Wales they were confident of being able to do so.

Image caption Lea Trainer says it is “great” the community has been given first refusal

Lea Trainer, who has lived at Brithdir Mawr with his family for three months, said: “It’s been a community and we have absolute gratitude to them [the Orbachs].

“Our landlord, Julian, is looking to sell, but the great thing is he’s looking to sell to us.

“Governments around the world are declaring a climate emergency. The way we can help with the climate is by living like this, by living sustainably, and only extracting the resources you need.”

Nick Ward, who has lived there for three years, added: “There is a chance this place will be sold and that will be unfortunate because it’s a beautiful place and we have some great plans.

“I’m pretty confident to be honest. We’re valued in the wider community. We hold a special place in people’s hearts.”

The community plans to launch a community share offer in September, meaning people living anywhere in the world can buy a share.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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