UK Leasing

The Welsh government paid £1m of the asking price for the farm

A PLAID Cymru MS has raised the Welsh Government’s purchase of a farm from Brecon Beacons for £4.25m to £1m above market value.

On Tuesday June 22, Mabon ap Gwynfor revealed the property bought by the Welsh Government, Gilestone Farm near Talybont-on-Usk, was on the market for £3.25million.

The Welsh Government purchased the property in March this year.

He has since made conflicting statements about the reasons for purchasing the property.

Task force unclear on £4.25m target

Fiona Stewart: Director of the Green Man Festival
CC BY-SA 4.0

Originally asked by curator MS James Evans about the purchase last month, Wales Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: ‘We are in discussions with the owners of the Green Man Festival about their potential rental of the site, to give a greater level of certainty for them to invest in the festival.

He suggested the Festival was in danger of leaving Wales.

This statement was either incorrect or incomplete.

Organizers of the Green Man Festival have no plans to move the annual event from its home in Glanusk Park near Crickhowell.

Moreover, the idea that the purchase would help secure investment for the future of the Festival is inconsistent with remarks made by the Prime Minister shortly afterwards that the farm would be linked to other businesses linked to the Green Man. Festival.

If this is true, three points are critical:

First of all, the business network behind the Green Man Festival has no track record in other businesses; each is related to the performing arts.

Secondlythe Welsh government purchased Gilestone without Green Man Festival Ltd or any of its associated companies preparing a business plan to justify the investment of public funds.

Thirdly, in February this year – just before the Welsh government bought Gilestone Farm – festival director Fiona Stewart became director of a company called Cwmningar Limited. According to Companies’ House, the main activities of this company are the purchase and sale of real estate and “other rentals and operations of own or leased real estate”.

Coincidence is not proof of a connection between separate facts. However, the formation of the company seems timely given the commitment of the Welsh government to buy Gilestone over what must have taken several months.

Furthermore, although Green Man Festival Ltd has only one director, Fiona Stewart, Companies House shows a legal person, Tree Trunk Ltd, exercising significant control over its activities.

TICKETS FESTIVAL CONTROL

Mabon ap Gwynfor: asking price revealed for Gilestone Farm

The directors of Tree Trunk Limited are Mrs Stewart and Paul Betesh.

Mr. Betesh’s main business interests are all related to other festivals in the UK, including the Altitude festival, in addition to being CEO of Ticketline.

Ticketline is the UK’s largest independent ticketing agency.

While Tree Trunk Limited wields significant control over the Green Man Festival, £4.25million of Wales’ public money will ultimately be in the hands of companies linked to “one of the biggest main ticket offices in Europe. Every year it sells millions of tickets for thousands of events.

Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday June 21, Mabon ap Gwynfor said: “The Economy Minister stressed the importance of protecting the Green Man brand and stressed that the purchase had to do with maintaining the Green Man Festival in Wales.

“The Minister underlined the importance of the brand and the Festival.

“However, in his response a week later, the Prime Minister said it was about developing other elements within the Green Man business, not the Festival.

“So me and many others wondered what it was. Is the proposal to rent it to the company for festival purposes, or is it to rent it to the company for other purposes, and what are those other purposes?

Mr ap Gwynfor then produced the agent’s sale details showing the £1million price difference between what the sellers were asking for and the price paid.

Responding to Mabon ap Gwynfor this week, the Welsh Government’s commercial director of Senedd, Lesley Griffiths MS, revealed that ministers had still not received a business plan from festival organizers and still had no idea of ​​the activities that “Green Man” would carry out on the site.

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The following day, Welsh Climate Change Minister Julie James MS reverted to the original Vaughan Gething tactic.

Ms James told Brecon and Radnorshire: ‘Gilestone Farm, as I know the MP is well aware, was bought as part of the economic development bid to secure the future of the Green Man festival.

To put it generously – again – the Welsh government seems to have gotten into the Field of Dreams economy: hoping that if they build it, they will come.

Either that or he bought the farm speculatively based on “backwards of a pack of cigarettes” calculations.

We asked the Festival’s media office to answer two questions: whether the Festival intended to move from its current headquarters and what commercial activities would take place at Gilestone Farm.

The media office politely told us that Green Man Festival would not comment on Gilestone Farm and referred us to the Welsh Government press office.

We asked the Welsh Government a simple and straightforward question: what policy priorities of the Welsh Government have been supported by the purchase of Gilestone.

The Welsh Government referred us to the original Vaughan Gething comments from May.