NFU Cymru members in Meirionnydd took the opportunity to highlight the key issues they viewed as important to those living and working within the Snowdonia National Park, when they recently met up with Helen Pye, the Parks Communications Manager.
During the meeting, Ms Pye outlined the Snowdonia National Park’s approach to setting their vision for their strategic plan from 2020 to 2025, known as Cynllun Eryri.
The new refreshed approach includes key partners in the preparation of the plan and consults with stakeholders throughout the process to decide on the main objectives.
Following the presentation discussions moved on to the provision of affordable housing for young people within the National Park, with an emphasis on utilising derelict houses and farm buildings as opportunities to provide homes for young families. Members called for a better approach to renovations and an understanding that development costs are significantly lower when young families can utilise existing buildings.
Helen Pye responded: “The Authority’s newly adopted Eryri Local Development Plan supports the conversion of redundant rural buildings for affordable housing to meet local needs and for economic purposes. Policies also support opportunities for rural diversification to assist in maintaining the viability of a farm holding and further National Park purposes.”
Securing employment for young people was also high on the agenda with members keen to stress that farming businesses may well be looking towards some form of diversified income, especially in the short term, in the event of a ‘No deal’ Brexit. Additional income generation activities outside of beef and sheep farming may come into play and it was stressed that opportunity for medium-scale renewables and alternative farm enterprises should be supported to ensure long term viability of farm businesses.
Helen Pye said: “It has been good to have a conversation with the representatives of the farming community in Meirionnydd about the key concerns they have in the coming five years.”
Ms Pye continued: “We have covered a host of issues around public goods, living and working in the National Park and how the National Park Authority can facilitate, where appropriate, the changes required for success.”
Emlyn Roberts, Meirionnydd NFU Cymru County Chairman said: “It is extremely heartening to see the Snowdonia National Park Authority make the effort to come out and listen to the farmers that care for Snowdonia’s landscape. It is open dialogue of this nature that will help us to understand how we can work together to ensure that the National Park provides a place for us to live and work whilst also providing the recreational opportunities for the wider public.”