Lake Vyrnwy estate up for sale – can it become a co-operative?
Lake Vyrnwy is a man-made reservoir which lies just to the South of Snowdonia. Currently owned by Severn Trent Water, the organisation has put the 23,000 acre estate up for sale.
Part of the estate is a nature reserve, 12,000 acres are jointly farmed with the RSPB and 5000 acres of woodland are managed by Forestry Commission Wales. The estate also includes 14 farms and 31 commercial and residential properties.
The land will be sold in four lots and is the biggest sale of land for many years.
An online campaign has been launched with the aim of securing a million Welsh people to buy at least a £10 share of the 23,000 acres. The campaign was recently launched on the social networking site Facebook by Heledd Wyn Hardy, from Cardiff.
She said: “I saw Severn Trent was putting the site up for sale and thought it was a fabulous opportunity to see if it could become a co-operative and belong to the people of Wales.
“My fear was some millionaire might buy it and stop the public coming onto the land.
“I saw what was achieved in the Facebook campaign to save BBC 6 Music and I was inspired to do a similar thing.”
The online group currently has more than 500 members but Heledd says she has been inundated with messages of interest and support.
She added: “I have written to Severn Trent asking them to delay the sale and give us six months’ grace to get the money together.”
A spokeswoman for Severn Trent said the firm was aware of the Facebook group.
She said: “The sale of the estate is being managed for us by experts in this field, Knight Frank, and all inquiries are being dealt with by them.
“It is our aim to ensure a responsible transfer process, the results of which should bring benefits to those living on working on and visiting the estate as well as fully protecting environmental interests.”
Source: BBC New Mid Wales
For more information on co-operatives and creating a co-operative, please visit the Wales Co-operative Centre website.