SELLING parts of the Powys Farm Estate could help fund transformation and ease budget worries.

On Wednesday, November 28, Powys County Council's (PCC) Cabinet will look at a   12-point County Farm Estate Delivery Plan which  will discuss the future of the 140 farms, small holdings and  cottages that span about 11,250 acres.

The item was pulled at the last meeting of the cabinet as the information was incomplete.

The Learning Skills and Economy (LSE)  Scrutiny Committee that looked at the plan has come up with an alternative list of proposals that include selling land in order to ease the council's financial worries

LSE has given a detailed report that will be added for discussion on the issue.

The report says: "The proposals submitted to Cabinet appear to offer little choice other than the status quo."

"The Strategic Asset Management Plan notes a declining contribution to central capital receipts in the immediate future and this issue needs to be given serious consideration given the financial situation the authority is facing."

The LSE committee gives cabinet five recommendations which includes: "making clear fo the county farms, that contributions to central capital receipts in the immediate and medium term, are expected."

Since the year 2000 the Farm Estate has changed significantly with the number of holdings falling by 35 per cent.

These sales have generated £16 million for the council.

The plan indicates that the council will work with tenant farmers to explore "diversification" opportunities.

It also says that more of the estate will be sold and farmers over 70 will be encouraged to retire.

In her comments Council Leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris wonders whether continuing to sell parts of the estate is the right thing to do?

Cllr Harris said: "One of the key issues considered as part of this review is whether the previous strategy of 'progressive rationalisation' remains appropriate and in the interests of both the estate and the wider county council.

"That strategy has significantly changed the structure of the estate, but it must be recognised that rationalisation cannot continue indefinitely - the long term sustainability of the estate relies on the physical integrity being maintained.

"While the County Farm Estate is seen by many as non-core council business, I would remind everyone this is an area guided by legislation and is a service which I strongly believe to be important in such a rural area as Powys."