CAMPAIGNERS working to save a county farm for the community are still waiting to find out if they have successfully bought the farm after it was put back on the market by Pembrokeshire County Council.

The Save Trecadwgan Farm group had bid successfully for the farm at auction last month, securing it with a bid of £650,000.

The group wants to create a community farm which would develop eco agri businesses and training at the 15th century farm, its historic outbuildings and 11 acres of land.

Contractual negotiations with Pembrokeshire County Council caused one of the group's funders to back out. However, another has since been found.

Gerald Miles from the Save Trecadwgan group said that the council wanted to apply an overage charge to the farm, meaning that any work that led to an increase in the value of the farm would mean that 30 percent of that increase had to be paid back to the authority.

Mr Miles said that the group believed that farms producing food should be exempt from overage charges but that the council was insistent that it should remain.

The group was told at the beginning of last week that the council was putting the farm back on the market and that all interested parties were being contacted. This gave them just four days to save the project.

Offers in sealed envelopes for the farm were being invited until noon on Friday, December 13.

The group sent in a sealed bid as well as letters from countless supporters.

The group is hoping for a meeting with the council to clarify the situation and put its case forward.

"I feel it's not proper procedure to deal with the sale of a county farm in this way," said Mr Miles. "We had bought it to create a community farm for the benefit of the community, in line with the Future Generations Act, which will take a lot of hard work and investment over the years.

"We have an exciting proposal for the site which pays a fair price and allows it to continue in its original role, rather than go to someone wanting to make a quick buck as a developer."

A spokesman for Pembrokeshire County Council said that the previous purchaser of Trecadwgan Farm had decided to withdraw their interest due to contractual differences.

"The council has a legal duty to obtain the best price for its property assets to provide value for the taxpayer," said the spokesman. "Therefore, the sale was subject to an overage or clawback clause.

"This is now commonplace in local authority property disposals and was clearly communicated from the very outset.

The spokesman said the underbidders were given a set time period to confirm their interest, which is usual procedure, and that timescales were kept short to maintain interest levels and to bring the matter to a conclusion.

"It is confirmed that the group has now submitted an offer to the council which it is obliged to consider," he said.

"It must also be noted that several other interested parties have proposed various levels of community use and local food production at the property."