By Katy Jenkins

Buildings on county council farms need to be surveyed – with funding to come from the authority’s contingency fund – to “stop the rot.”

A year-long review of the county farm estate has been carried out and a draft policy drawn up to guide how the estate is run.

It came before cabinet again on March 9 having been deferred from the last meeting for the addition of more financial details.

Cabinet member for finance Bob Kilmister said that Pembrokeshire’s farm estate was generating higher returns than neighbouring authorities with the new policy aiming to ensure the efficient running of the council’s “largest asset.”

He referred to the recent sale at auction of Trecadwgan Farm, near Solva, which made £757,000 before costs for the authority, adding it was wrongly referred to as a farm as it was only 11 acres with a house and other buildings.

There had been a community campaign to buy the site but the group were outbid.

A further £1million in capital receipts had been generated from the sale of farms and farm buildings over the last five years, the report to cabinet states.

Cllr Kilmister added that ten new tenants and six internal moves have been facilitated in the same time helping people into farming.

“Pushing financial return and improving the quality of buildings is needed,” said Cllr Kilmister, which is why a survey was needed.

Council leader Cllr David Simpson said: “Walking around Trecadwgan Farm, those buildings had left to rot for many, many years, the last 19 years I imagine, that’s the time this authority’s been in existence.

“It’s about time we turned that around, hopefully we will stop the rot and make the farms a better place to be.”

Cabinet had previously heard that the valuation of the estate varied from a minimum of £8million to a maximum of £30million depending on a variety of factors such as how it could be sold and whether it had sitting tenants.

The estate’s financial performance has improved “year on year” with a net income of £343,000 last year.

Cabinet adopted the County Farms Policy 2020-25 and approved the use of the contingency fund for survey of buildings subject to a tendering exercise.