Agenda and draft minutes

Extraordinary General Meeting - Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018 12.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon LD3 7HP. View directions

Contact: Julia Gruffydd 


No. Item



To receive and consider the attached Schedule of Correspondence and any recommendations thereon (below).

Additional documents:


Apologies were noted from Cllrs P Pritchard, M Jones, S Lewis, G Ratcliffe, G Davies, and Prof A Lovell.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to items on the agenda.  Members’ attention is drawn to the sheet attached to the attendance sheet and the need to record their declarations verbally and in writing, specifying the nature of the interest.


If Members have declared an interest in an item please ensure that you inform the Chair when you are leaving the room, so that this can be recorded in the minutes.


Additional documents:


Cllr Emily Durrant declared a personal and prejudicial interest in item 4 on the agenda due to her involvement in the Black Mountain College project.  She left the meeting at this point.



Public Speaking

To give opportunity for members of the public to address the meeting in accordance with the Authority’s Public Speaking Scheme.


Additional documents:


There were no requests to speak.



Sustainable Development Fund Application over £30,000 pdf icon PDF 54 KB

Additional documents:


Members received a presentation from the applicant, Ben Rawlence, to support the funding of a feasibility study for the establishment of a Black Mountains College in the Talgarth area and an options appraisal of the potential sites.  He highlighted the opportunities for a new way of learning in order to prepare young people for decisions that would be needed in future, potential partnerships with academic institutions and the benefits to the local community in terms of jobs, volunteer hours and associated support functions.


The Chairman of the Sustainable Development Fund Committee supported this inspirational project and said this would create graduates for jobs that did not yet exist.  It was also an opportunity to work with Powys County Council in an important partnership, and stressed that an equal amount of funding would be required from Powys before the Authority awarded the grant.  She recognised the risk but this was what the fund was about, to invest in the future, and advised that the funding was available to spend.


The Director of Countryside and Land Management felt that this was a good example of a place based approach to education, and reflected some of the views expressed from the Black Mountains Land Use Partnership in relation to the lack of opportunity for young people to acquire rural skills.  He did wonder whether Talgarth was the right place but acknowledged that the feasibility study would address this.


Members were largely supportive of the scheme but raised a number of issues.  Mr Rawlence advised that the reason the idea had not sold to universities yet was because universities tended to be conservative bodies and financially constrained, but there was a lot of interest in the United States.


The potential for overlap with other institutions offering similar opportunities was highlighted, in particular the Centre for Alternative Technology and the new university in Herefordshire, as there might be opportunity for greater synergy.  Mr Rawlence confirmed contact with both bodies and responded that not all institutions could offer accredited courses and were constrained by fee levels.  This proposal would give students the opportunity to find their place in the world and follow a different model of learning, with modules taught sequentially rather than simultaneously to encourage a deeper immersion in each subject.


The Chairman advised that should the Authority grant this award, Mr Rawlence would be expected to make progress reports at future meetings.  She thanked the applicant, the SDF officers and the SDF Committee for their work on this.




a)   To approve the grant award of £82,500 between February 2018 and January 2019 towards the cost of a feasibility study, an options appraisal and the employment of two staff at Black Mountains College Ltd.

b)   To approve the grant condition that the SDF Award must be matched in writing by Powys County Council prior to project commencement.

c)    That as a condition of the grant the applicant be required to make further progress reports to the Authority.