13 June 2022
Request for Information – ATISN 16316
I wrote to you on 27 May regarding your request for information.
You asked for the following information –
- When did the ‘Welsh Government’ buy Gilestone Farm, Talybont on Usk, LD3 7JE; Land Registry title number CYM515641?
- How much did ‘Welsh Government’ pay for this property? (The most recent document available on the LR website says the farm sold for £900,000 in 2010.)
- Why did the ‘Welsh Government’ buy this property?
- Why has the ‘Welsh Government’ entered into an agreement with Fiona Stewart and the Green Man Festival for Ms Stewart and others to run this expensive piece of real estate - paid for with Welsh public money - as a Green / hippy retreat?
- What exactly is the agreement entered into with Ms Stewart et al; is it a formal lease, or has it been gifted to her and her friends?
- Was there an open tendering process for the renting or leasing of this property, or was it a ‘done deal’, and the property bought specifically for Ms Stewart and her associates?
- Who now owns the rights to the substantial deposits of sand and gravel beneath Gilestone farm?
- What benefit does the ‘Welsh Government’ believe accrues to the bulk of the population of Wales – those without influence in Cardiff Bay and official circles – from the purchase of Gilestone Farm and the arrangement with Ms Stewart?
- Who in the ‘Welsh Government’ authorised the purchase of Gilestone Farm?
- Has the ‘Welsh Government’ bought, or does it plan to buy, any other farms?
I can confirm that we hold some information in relation to your response.
- March 2022.
- The purchase price was £4.25m (no VAT to be charged).
- The Welsh Government(WG) purchased the property to support the growth ambitions of the Green Man festival and the potential additional positive contribution of the festival to local businesses, the community and the Welsh economy.
- WG have not entered into an agreement with Fiona Stewart and the Green Man Festival. Subject to agreeing a business plan a commercial agreement will be reached.
- Please see question 4.
- There was no open tendering process and the purchase was made by the Welsh Government for economic development purposes.
- I confirm we hold the information. I have concluded, however, that it is exempt from disclosure under Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, information otherwise available. The information is available at the Land Registry website - Land Registry Searches Online (land-search-online.co.uk).
- The purchase of the farm was for economic development purposes.
- The Minister For Economy.
- The Welsh Government will consider the acquisition of any type of property, including farms, where it considers such action can help deliver policy objectives.
If you are dissatisfied with the Welsh Government’s handling of your request, you can ask for an internal review within 40 working days of the date of this response. Requests for an internal review should be addressed to the Welsh Government’s Freedom of Information Officer at:
Information Rights Unit, Welsh Government, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NQ
or Email: Freedom.firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the ATISN reference number above.
You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. However, please note that the Commissioner will not normally investigate a complaint until it has been through our own internal review process.