A farming family in the Vale of Glamorgan are facing eviction after working for more than 85 years to make way for an industrial park. Gethin and Mair Jenkins’ family is the third generation to have lived and worked at Model Farm near Cardiff Airport in Rhoose but financial giant Legal & General, which owns the land, has ordered the family to leave. Gethin, 68, was born and raised on the farm.
His son Rhys told Wales Online: “It’s devastating. It’s had a real effect on dad, to be honest.
“It’s horrible to see what it’s doing to everyone, but especially to dad. He’s spent pretty much every day of his life on this farm since he was born until this day. To see what he’s going through is not nice at all. It’s not doing his health any good, I know that.”
He added: “Dad has always had the ambition to pass the farm on to me. He’s worked on building everything up on this farm from a young age.
“When his father was first on there, there was no water tanks, no fences, there was nothing. You couldn’t have livestock here at all because there was no water supply.
“So that’s something they’ve had to do is dig every hedgerow and put water pipes and water tanks in every field to be able to put livestock in them. Build up the soil and condition it and get good soil, and that’s not something that happens overnight.
“That’s taken 50, 60 years at least to get right and to get to the point where we are now where we’re very productive and the soil is in good condition.
“Like I said, I can’t imagine what he’s going through.
“He’s poured all of his blood, sweat and tears into this farm and just like that it can get taken away.”
The caampaign group, Vale Communities Unite, was set up to save Model Farm has gained thousands of supports to raise money for legal fees and appeal the decision of Legal & General.
Gail Elizabeth, one of the campaigners, told the publication: “I didn’t think it would get this far. When permission was granted I was horrified. There’s huge opposition from locals, and over 1,000 residents opposed it.
“The farmers have supported us over a number of years in various ways. They’re huge in the community and have been for years. The main road out of Rhoose, Porthkerry Road, has flooded on a number of occasions, so we were trapped. And the farmer pumped out the water for us and cleared the road.”
A spokesperson from Legal and General said: “Forming part of the council’s local development plan since 2017, this important project has a strategic role to play in delivering wider economic, social and environmental benefits, including the capacity to accommodate over 3,000 jobs and supporting £94 million in wages each year.
“An environmental assessment underpins the plans for the site and the management and enhancement of natural habitats and wildlife are a key priority.
“In addition, over half the site — equivalent to circa 67 football pitches — will be handed over to Porthkerry Country Park, extending leisure and recreation facilities.
“Consideration of development opportunities of other alternative sites would have been extensively consulted on as part of the council’s local plan process. We sympathise with the tenant, Mr Jenkins, and will continue to communicate with him as part of the next steps in the process of enabling the delivery of this site and its wider community benefits.”