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Business park on farmland next to Cardiff Airport, UK

Planning permission for an aerospace business park on farmland next to Cardiff Airport was granted despite +1,000 objections. Following action by Vale Communities Unite, the group opposing the development, the decision is now subject to judicial review.


Gethin Jenkins, a tenant farmer at Model Farm, to the east of Cardiff Airport, first heard of plans to build a business park on the land on 31st May 2019. Jenkins’ family have farmed the land for three generations, since 1935. He explained, “It was a shock that such a big area was to be developed in one go. Being realistic, I realised there would be something close to the airport, but maybe in one or two fields.” It seemed that Jenkins’ hopes of passing the farm to his son Rhys had been dashed and he said, “It is a case of good agricultural land being taken away. Once agricultural land is bulldozed, it is lost forever.” 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Business park on farmland next to Cardiff Airport, UK
Country:United Kingdom
State or province:Cardiff Capital Region
Location of conflict:Vale of Galmorgan
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Cardiff Airport and Gateway Development Zone, Supplementary Planning Guidance - published in December 2019 and part of the Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026 – specifies the proposed business park site aas a Strategic Employment Site, forming part of the wider Cardiff Airport- St. Athan Enterprise Zone. This document states:

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Project area:44.9 hectares
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:31/05/2019
Company names or state enterprises:Cardiff Airport from United Kingdom - Referred to as stakeholder in planned business park
Legal & General (L&G) from United Kingdom - Model Farm landowner
RPS Group from United Kingdom - Submitted plans for business park on behalf of Legal & General.[4] Supported delivery of masterplan, design brief and design and access statement prepared on behalf of Legal and General to accompany the outline planning application.[11]
Relevant government actors:Vale of Glamorgan Council
Welsh Government
Barry Town Council
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Vale Communities Unite Against the planned development of Model Farm
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Shareholder/financial activism.
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:Gethin Jenkins, tenant farmer at Model Farm, along with Barry Town Council, have suggested that, to avoid building on farmland, facilities such as the planned business park could be built on nearby brownfield sites i.e. previously developed land.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Planning permission for the business park was granted in spite of widespread community opposition, with more than 1,000 objections submitted. Plans for the business park have been quashed, due to Viability Information not being included, but Legal and General, the landowner, might contest the decision and the matter could be put before the planning committee again by the end of 2021. The planning commission might decide to approve permission again.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)


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[10] Cardiff Airport and Gateway Development Zone, Supplementary Planning Guidance, Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan 2011-2026, 12/2019
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[1] Vale farm could be bulldozed to make way for business park near Cardiff Airport, Bro Radio, 21/06/2019
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[2] Family that has farmed land for four generations threatened by Cardiff Airport business park, Wales Online, 03/07/2019
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[3] Plans for new airport business park unveiled, Insider Media Limited, 21/08/2019
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[5] ‘Disastrous’ decision as fourth-generation farmers to be kicked off land for business park east of Cardiff Airport, NATION CYMRU, 15/07/2021
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[6] Protest outside Senedd to save Model Farm from demolition, THE NATIONAL, 22/08/2021
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[7] Family working farm for 90 years 'devastated' by eviction notice, itv NEWS, 23/08/2021
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[8] Vale council consents to quashing of Model Farm development planning permission, Bro Radio, 13/09/2021
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[9] Campaigners celebrate quashing of plans to build business park on Model Farm, Wales Online, 15/09/2021
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[11] Parc Busnes Porth Cymru, RPS Group
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Save our green spaces
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Video: Protest against family farm near Cardiff Airport becoming a business park, GB News, 21/08/2021
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Video: Family of farmers to keep their land after plans for 45-acre business park scrapped, ITV NEWS, 14/09/2021
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Meta information
Contributor:Rose Bridger, Stay Grounded mapping, email: [email protected]
Last update25/01/2022
Conflict ID:5633
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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