Page last updated at 17:32 GMT, Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Stud farm plan on historic estate

Leighton Park model farm
The Victorian-era Leighton farm complex has fallen into disrepair

A Grade II-listed Victorian farm in Powys is to be sold and turned into a Welsh national stud farm.

The owners Powys Council had put Leighton Park model farm up for sale in July because it could not afford the estimated £2m repair costs.

The farm was built on an estate near Welshpool in the mid 19th Century.

The council said the facility, to be developed by local businessman James Potter, would provide "tremendous possibilities for future regeneration".

It had advertised for interest in repairing and developing the farm, seven houses and 200 acres land.

Councillor Stephen Hayes, board member for corporate property, said: "Our main concern was to safeguard the long term future of this important site and to create something of benefit for the local community."

He said the plans would bring full repairs, improve public access and create up to 30 new jobs.

"Leighton estate is a site of national historical importance and the council believes this proposal protects it for future generations," said Mr Hayes.

'Historical site'

Mr Potter added: "I know that the council has given a great deal of consideration to the sale of Leighton centre given its historical importance and I now look forward to working closely with them undertaking the repairs and restoration.

"The model farm buildings are unique and hold a special importance both within the local community and that of the wider county of Powys.

"It is my intention to establish a sympathetic use for the centre that will ensure a sustainable future for the buildings."

He said he would be keeping the local community council informed of progress and open days would be held in the future.

The Leighton Park estate was given to John Naylor by his uncle as a wedding present.

Between 1848 and 1856 he invested about £275,000 in it.

But in the early part of the 20th Century the estate was broken up to pay for death duties and in 1931 the farm was sold to the local authority.

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