Lake Vyrnwy estate: Residents fear lack of investment

Lake Vyrnwy The Lake Vyrnwy estate includes 12,000 acres of farmland and 5,000 acres of forestry

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Some residents say they fear a land sale, described as the biggest in Wales or England in memory, to another water firm will not bring enough investment.

Severn Trent named United Utilities as its preferred bidder for the £11m Lake Vyrnwy estate in Powys, hours before a public meeting on the issue.

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies backed the view that a sale to a north Wales businessman would have been preferable.

But Severn Trent said the bid, with RSPB Cymru, was the right choice.

About 100 people attended the meeting in Abertridwr to discuss the sale of the 23,000 acre (93 sq km) site, on a 125-year lease, near the village of Llanwddyn, Montgomeryshire.

Some Llanwddyn residents told the meeting that they were "very disappointed" that United Utilities and the RSPB have been named as the preferred bidders to take over the land.

Mr Davies, who arrived after the meeting ended, told BBC Wales he supported people's preference for selling the site to another known bidder, north Wales businessman Rhys Jones, who has claimed he was motivated by wanting to invest in the area where he grew up.

Residents said they were also disappointed that no-one from Severn Trent, United Utilities or the RSPB attended the meeting to hear their concerns.

Vyrnwy Dam Water company United Utilities is one of the preferred bidders for the Powys land sale

The sale of the estate by the agents Knight Frank has been described as the largest in living memory in Wales and England

The lots include 12,000 acres of farmland and 5,000 acres of forestry.

United Utilities and RSPB Cymru have jointly bid for the agricultural holdings at Lake Vyrnwy, while FIM Sustainable Timber & Energy LP was named preferred bidder for the estate's commercial woodland.

United Utilities provides water and waste water services to nearly seven million people in north west England, supplying more than three million households and more than 400,000 business premises.

The company said it would bring its previous expertise to Lake Vyrnwy, and would closely consult with local communities and special interest groups if its bid was successful.

Lord Elis-Thomas, the former presiding officer of the Welsh assembly, has called for an inquiry into the sale of the estate.

The prospective buyers and seller will now enter into a three-month statutory consultation with the Countryside Council for Wales over the details of the sale.

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