Powys County Council’s leader has vowed to resign if he is found to have intentionally misled the council in a row over a £5 million farm sale near Welshpool – but insisted his cabinet has acted appropriately.

At a council meeting on Thursday. October 5, Conservative group leader, Cllr Aled Davies quizzed Cllr Gibson-Watt over the secret cabinet discussions over the sale of a dairy farm in Leighton

Senior members of the Liberal Democrat/Labour administration discussed a report in confidential session on the sale of 218 acres of the council’s farm estate around Leighton at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, September 19.

The potential buyer is believed to be Welshpool-based waste and recycling firm Potters.

It is believed that the confidential report under discussion said the property had been valued at £4.13 million while an offer of £5 million had been received.


Since then, Andrew Thomas the tenant of farm in question known as Gwyn’s barn, has said that no discussion has taken place between himself and the council over the potential sale.

In response to this a council spokesman said it would “not typically speak with a tenant prior to a decision being made as these matters are confidential by their very nature”.

At the full council meeting Cllr Davies welcomed a decision by the economy, residents and communities scrutiny committee to investigate the decision, urging it to call in witnesses from inside and outside the council, and to hold the meeting in public "if at all possible".

Cllr Davies asked the council leader: “If the committee finds that you have misled the council in any way, will you offer your resignation?”

County Times:

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “The report is in my name if it is found to be intentionally inaccurate or acted incorrectly, I will certainly resign.

“We were advised about the manner in which we had to take it, you were present at that meeting and as far as I understood you agreed that the decision had to be taken in camera (private).”

Cllr Davies also asked an urgent question on whether there is more information on the issue and whether Cllr Gibson-Watt would apologise to those “impacted” by the decision.

Liberal Democrat, Cllr Gibson-Watt said that he wasn’t aware of any further “reliable, relevant or accurate” information on the matter that had become known in recent days.

Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “I’m aware of an awful lot of things flying around social media and local media which I have to say is not accurate.

“I’m confident we had all the information and I’m happy the decision was sound.

“I’m satisfied how cabinet and council officers have dealt with it.

“As far as I’m concerned, we took a sound, balanced and correctly made decision.

“I’m perfectly happy to respect those who disagree with it.”

Cllr Davies responded: “Thank you for the reassurance that you are absolutely confident that a sound decision was made."