Powys Health & Well Being Action group

The Bronllys Well Being Park CLT Story

Purpose of Our Story We have only one objective as an organisation:  to create a Well-Being Community Hub, with the Bronllys Community Hospital (BCH) at its centre, on approximately 50 acres of vacant land surrounding the hospital.  We firmly believe that the community has the right to develop this unused land to meet the economic, social, housing, and well-being needs of people in South Powys now and for generations to come. We have diligently and tirelessly worked for an entire decade trying to convince the Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) to seriously consider transferring this land asset to the community for creating a Well-Being Community Hub. Not only has the PTHB failed to engage in genuine and candid discussions to explore the feasibility and advantages of this initiative, but they also have refused to provide any kind of plan concerning the future use of this land or supporting evidence regarding their claim that “there is no surplus land” surrounding the hospital. Our vision and proposals are supported by a major study conducted in 2011 by The Prince’s Foundation [1], which recommended that the BCH site “be given over to a Community Land Trust that would be able to retain and maintain the core elements of the site upon which the ethos of wellbeing were originally built.”  The findings of that study have been corroborated by seven Arwain-funded feasibility studies that substantiate the need, viability, and benefits of a Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site. Our proposals for creating a Well-Being Community Hub have received widespread approval from local communities, civic leaders, politicians, and government officials at all levels.  The ONLY roadblock to our vision becoming a reality is the PTHB’s intransigence and unwillingness to address the community’s concerns and current and future needs. This document highlights our frustration and exasperation with the PTHB and validates our primary contentions that the PTHB does not:  (1) adequately consult with communities regarding issues and needs; (2) respectfully respond to the community’s concerns in a timely manner; (3) uphold the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.


The “BWBP Story” has nothing to do with intrigue, mystery, or suspense.  It is a story, however, that you will be able to relate to because it has everything to do with things that are important to most people — fairness, decency, and respect.  This is really a story about your future health and well-being and that of your loved ones.

Our story is not unique … it has been repeated innumerable times over the centuries in all cultures.  Yet, it deserves to be told again because it gets at the heart of the following intractable problems that we believe continue to plague ordinary people who have little or no control over their own fate:

  • National government control of local community assets
  • Unwillingness of public authorities to listen to the legitimate concerns of citizens (i.e., token engagements with communities instead of genuine consultations)
  • Government officials reneging on pledges made to communities and unfairly altering agreements without providing any opportunity for discourse
  • Lack of transparency regarding the objectives and plans of government bodies
  • Inconsistency between the government’s legislative policies and mandates and its operational decisions and actions
  • Predilection of government officials to focus almost exclusively on short-term “solutions” without considering the needs of future generations
  • Inability of government bodies to solve current issues in a sustainable and holistic manner

The Beginning of a Long Journey

As a small group of concerned residents of South Powys, in 2012 we opposed the “New Directions” proposals promoted by the Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB). [2] We surmised that the PTHB intended to “strip assets” from the Bronllys Community Hospital (BCH) to advance administrative and financial interests.

Our group consisted of a few concerned individuals who had a personal interest in ensuring that competent health services were available to the residents of communities in South Powys.  When it became apparent that certain health services would no longer be provided at BCH, we organised efforts to challenge the plans of the PTHB, which seemed determined to ignore concerns raised by the public.  It was unclear as to whose interests were being served by the PTHB’s stance to dismantle local health services.

Only loosely organised at the time, we joined forces with the Bronllys Hospital & Community League of Friends to launch a public petition to stop the PTHB from implementing its plans. [3]  The petition, which was eventually signed by 3,122 people, challenged the PTHB’s intention to remove services from Bronllys Hospital and argued that the consultation in local communities was wholly inadequate because grave public concerns were not sufficiently addressed.

We formed the Powys Health and Wellbeing Action Group (hereafter referred to as the “Action Group”) in 2013 to combat the PTHB’s apparent indifference and dismissiveness.

Disregarding the public petition to delay the PTHB’s proposed actions, in February 2014 the PTHB relocated the stroke unit at BCH to Brecon Hospital, even though parking was totally inadequate. [4] We interpreted the PTHB’s decision as the onset of what we perceived as “asset stripping” at BCH.

It is important to note that, a year prior to the relocation of the stroke unit, the PTHB had publicly announced in their Board meeting that the parking problem at Brecon Hospital would be resolved and that a “robust plan” would be developed for BCH. [5]  After nearly ten years since that assurance, some improvements to the parking at Brecon Hospital have finally been made.  The “robust plan” for BCH, however, was never developed for consultation as promised.

Disappointed but Determined

In response to PTHB’s request for community input in early 2014, we proceeded to develop a proposal that made BCH central to the overall plan of site development. [6] “Bronllys Park: A Vision for the Next 100 Years” was submitted in August 2014 to the recently appointed CEO of PTHB (Bob Hudson), who responded positively to our ideas and objectives. [7]

Based on suggestions and ideas from the local community, this document received positive feedback from the PTHB, Powys County Council (PCC), and the Brecknock and Radnor Community Health Council. [8] In addition, the Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services (Mark Drakeford) recommended that BWBP meet with Val Whiting (Welsh Government Deputy Director of Capital, Estates & Facilities) to discuss the proposals presented in the document. [9]

At this point, the future looked very promising.  Not only was our “vision statement” embraced by statutory bodies and government officials, but Bob Hudson’s appointment had also dramatically improved the PTHB’s communications with the community and our organisation.  This hopeful outlook, however, was short-lived because Mr. Hudson left his post at the end of 2014.

In January 2015, our proposal was presented to the Welsh Assembly Government, which effectively gave PTHB and PCC a mandate to work collaboratively with us. [10] The PTHB acknowledged the Welsh Government’s directive and agreed to organise a number of meetings to discuss various matters with us.

PTHB’s Perplexing Resistance

The evidence suggests that our impassioned involvement in this cause encouraged the public to take an interest in the future of BCH.  Without such involvement, and without the dogged undertakings of a handful of people, it is likely that PTHB’s 2012 “New Directions” proposals, which involved replacing the hospital with a nursing home in Hay-on-Wye, would have been implemented over time and that the “asset stripping” (N.B., our perception) of BCH would have continued with little or no public opposition.

One might think that we, as a small group of concerned citizens, would have been commended by our principal partners in this co-production.  We also felt that our assistance and contributions in helping to address complicated, interrelated social issues would have been welcomed.  And finally, we believed that the PTHB would have appreciated our ability, as a community benefit society, to acquire resources not available to statutory organisations.

However, considering the decisions and actions of PTHB’s new administration (i.e., after Bob Hudson left his post as CEO), we felt we were often met with indifference, dismissiveness, and disrespect.  It is our opinion that the behaviour of PTHB’s new executive team and leadership prevented much needed public consultation of current and future issues faced by the residents of South Powys.

The PTHB’s resistance to the idea of creating a Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site is even more perplexing, considering that this public body actually proposed such an initiative in its presentation, entitled “Bronllys Hospital Site Developing a Health and Well Being Park Concept,” in Talgarth Town Hall on 29th January 2014. [11]

Becoming an Organised Legal Entity

In response to the Community Land Trust Network’s recommendation and encouragement from other organisations, we incorporated as a Community Benefit Society and Community Land Trust and became known as Bronllys Well Being Park (Community Land Trust) Ltd (BWBP) in November 2016.

As a not-for-profit, voluntary organisation, we stepped up our efforts aimed at persuading government officials to fully embrace our vision of creating a Well-Being Community Hub.  We adopted the following strategy focused on securing an asset transfer, for a token remittance, of unused land and redundant buildings after NHS facilities moved to a new Health Campus:

  • Continue to galvanise public support for a Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site.
  • Solicit further endorsements and support from key authorities in government and civic groups.
  • In consultation with our members and local communities, develop proposals involving major improvements to current local health facilities and services, and present these proposals to the appropriate government bodies.

This strategy involved repeated efforts to engage and enlist the public to get involved and take action, to communicate a variety of options to government officials for resolving interrelated issues regarding the delivery of health and wellbeing services, and to lay the groundwork for making badly needed changes in the local health system.

The strategy was applied with some success, and eventually the PTHB and PCC agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with us in 2019. [12] The PTHB announced at a public meeting that BCH would not be closed down. [13]  In addition, the PTHB promised, after resolving health-related matters in Newtown, that they would consult with us early in 2022 regarding the future of BCH. [14]

Preparing for Consultation with the PTHB

Honouring the MOU with the PTHB and PCC, we waited patiently for the three-year deferral to elapse and in the meantime engaged in the following projects and activities:

  • We met regularly with the PTHB’s Planning Director and Estates Manager to discuss a number of projects, including the restoration of the Chapel, Armistice Commemoration, “Measured Mile Well Being Walk,” growing initiatives, and veteran-supported events.  Although a significant amount of time was invested in designing these projects, none of the projects came to fruition because the PTHB withheld the necessary permissions, Terms of Reference, and Letters of Comfort.
  • We engaged with our members and the general public, partners, and PTHB staff to continue refining our proposals, which ultimately were depicted in six poster-sized “Vision Drawings” that demonstrated how the community would benefit from a Well-Being Community Hub at the hospital site.
  • We updated our “vision document” that was submitted to the Welsh Government in 2014 and published a 61-page document, entitled “The Next Ten Years:  Bronllys Well Being Park,” launching it at a public event in April 2021. [15]
  • In 2022, we completed various ARWAIN-funded feasibility studies pertaining to the creation of the Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site. [16]

Near the end of the three-year postponement, aware of the demands placed on the PTHB by the Covid pandemic and fully respecting the PTHB’s priorities and responsibilities, we made several attempts to arrange consultation meetings with the PTHB to discuss our proposals, which continued to receive considerable community support and government encouragement at all levels.

After consistently being ignored and dismissed by the PTHB, we realised that we were “spinning wheels” in getting the PTHB’s attention.  Efforts to interact with the PTHB and to communicate our stance seemed to be systematically thwarted by the PTHB’s:

  • Lack of response to our repeated requests for an audience [17]
  • Apparent “lip service” to our goals and objectives
  • Perceived opaque behaviour and covert decisions and actions

BWBP’s Board became increasingly frustrated with what we believed were PTHB’s diversion tactics and intentional disregard.  To no avail, Board members spent more and more time developing plans intended to persuade the PTHB to listen and take decisive action.

Throughout this three-year period, our well-developed strategy effectively became “derailed” by measures that we conjectured were being used by the PTHB to distract our organisation and divert our focus away from the central issues.

PTHB’s Perceived Stonewalling Strategy

Whether intentional or not, the PTHB’s apparent stonewalling strategy and dismissive behaviour over a period of several years significantly set back our efforts to make any kind of real progress after the early success of the 2012 petition, which helped to ensure that BCH was not “closed by the back door.”

On the face of things, the PTHB appeared to avow advocacy of our organisation’s goals via certain communications; however, this apparent advocacy was not backed in any substantive way by meaningful actions and deeds.

Over time it became increasingly clear that we got sidetracked from our principal objective of realising and implementing our community’s vision for better health and wellbeing services and facilities.  Instead of using all of our resources to advance the community’s interests, a great deal of time and energy was expended in attempts to convince the PTHB of our organisation’s legitimacy and right to exist.

The following three factors seem to have hindered progress and contributed to our inability to convince the PTHB to listen to the community’s concerns and proposals for constructive change:

  • We assumed that the best way to gain the PTHB’s approval was to use a logical, professional approach that emphasised arguments based on facts and figures.  We did not consider the politics of the situation and the motivations of key government officials.  In other words, we erroneously believed that the PTHB was operating from the standpoint of mutual trust and respect.
  • PTHB’s choice not to engage and cooperate with us over an extended period of time caused great consternation within our organisation.  A number of individuals became increasingly concerned and demoralised over the lack of progress regarding the creation of the Bronllys Well Being Park and the enhancement of BCH’s facilities and services.
  • Based on documented decisions and behaviours over a period of several years, it appeared that the PTHB intended to disarm our organisation and nullify our initial success through actions that created confusion and divisiveness.  The evidence indicated that the PTHB was not always being transparent and straightforward regarding its plans and intentions.  Most Board members came to perceive the PTHB’s behaviours with skepticism and mistrust.

PTHB’s Alleged Ulterior Motives

The perceived obstructive behaviour of the PTHB became much more evident when a certain BWBP Board member met with Carol Shillabeer (CEO, PTHB) on 12th July 2017 to discuss a number of items.  In this meeting, Ms. Shillabeer stated that our involvement in restoring the Chapel on the BCH site would essentially prove to the PTHB that we were more than just a not-for-profit organisation with a vision, and that the project would provide an opportunity for us to establish our organisation as an effective change agent. [18]

Ms. Shillabeer also indicated during this meeting that our leadership in the Chapel restoration would cement a long-term partnership with the PTHB and would allow working relations between the two organisations to blossom over time. [19]

When the BWBP Board member confronted Ms. Shillabeer with the suspicion that the Chapel project was simply a “cul-de-sac” to keep us from achieving its ultimate objectives, her response convinced this individual that she was being sincere regarding her argument that the Chapel was a legitimate “boots-on-the-ground” project.

The aforementioned interaction brought into question, in a very concrete way, what we believed to be the ulterior motives of the PTHB.  There were differences of opinion among our Board members regarding the PTHB’s intentions, with some individuals interpreting Ms. Shillabeer’s words as possibly supporting a true collaborative effort, while other individuals perceiving her comments as being manipulative and controlling.

Since that significant meeting in July 2017, BWBP’s Board eventually concluded as a unified body that Ms. Shillabeer’s statements must be viewed cautiously with circumspection.  The following examples of PTHB’s decisions and actions over time have been seen as anything but cooperative:

  • At the PAVO Conference in May 2017, PTHB’s CEO failed to acknowledge our collaborative work with the PTHB and Powys County Council, even though the main theme of the conference was “co-production”. [20]
  • The PTHB attempted to prevent us from having a stand at their Annual General Meeting in July 2018. [21]
  • Although she attended the conference, the PTHB’s Chair failed to attend our presentation at the Bevan International Conference in July 2018. [22]
  • In August 2018, the PTHB withdrew permission for us to display posters in the canteen and library at BCH. [23]
  • Although the PTHB had previously made a commitment to the Measured Mile Walk at the BCH site, in October 2020 they did not provide the requisite Terms of Reference regarding its maintenance. [24]
  • Our Terms of Reference with the PTHB regarding the restoration of the listed Chapel at the BCH site essentially became meaningless when the PTHB refused to sign a Letter of Comfort that was required for obtaining funding for the project in November 2020.  After being encouraged by the PTHB to secure funding for the Chapel restoration, we spent considerable time completing a funding application that became worthless without the Letter of Comfort from the PTHB. [25] (N.B.  To date, no progress has been made on the Chapel’s restoration, despite a 2016 survey indicating that it required £60,000 of repairs to prevent further deterioration of the building.  The PTHB’s failure to provide a promised Letter of Comfort dashed any hopes for obtaining £100,000 of funding for the Chapel’s restoration.)
  • In April 2021, the PTHB unilaterally terminated our longstanding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with them without consulting the Powys County Council, which was also a party to the MOU.  This termination came about after we reluctantly declined an invitation to meet with the PTHB days before the April 27th launch of our “Next Ten Years” document, which provided an updated vision of a Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site.  Apparently, the PTHB did not consider our reasons for not being able to attend the meeting as legitimate (i.e., unavailability of key Board members due to health issues, time constraints created by our upcoming major event). [26]
  • Although invited, no member of the PTHB attended the online launch of our “Next Ten Years” document on April 27, 2021.  The public event featured our keynote speaker, Sophie Howe (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales) and guest speaker, Tom Chance (CEO, National Community Land Trust Network). [27]
  • The PTHB failed to invite us to attend their 28th July 2021 Board meeting, during which they made numerous derogatory statements and erroneous accusations about us.  They not only spent an inordinate amount of time during their meeting criticising our work (about 18 minutes or 11% of their meeting agenda), but they made their disparaging and judgemental remarks public by posting their meeting on YouTube.  Given the comments made during the meeting, it was apparent that PTHB Board members grossly misunderstood our proposals. [28]
  • Since we were not given any opportunity to respond to PTHB’s comments made in their July 2021 Board meeting, on 25th August 2021 we posted a YouTube video that countered their rather negative remarks about us. [29]  The PTHB sent us an email expressing their indignation regarding our video and summarily cancelling a meeting that was scheduled for 1st September 2021 to resolve our differences. [30]

Our Concerns and Challenges

Over 50 acres of publicly-owned land surrounding BCH, which is managed by the PTHB, have not been made available for community benefit for the past 100 years!  Given historical evidence, this land is in constant danger of being sold to property developers.

Over the years, local communities have clearly and consistently indicated that asset stripping at the BCH site would be harmful and would not be in the community’s best interest.  We firmly believe that a Well-Being Community Hub (i.e., “Well Being Park”), with BCH at its centre, is the best use of this unique community asset and is the right blueprint for meeting the economic, social, cultural, and health and well-being needs of current and future generations of people in South Powys.

Our greatest challenge for realising our vision is our relationship with the PTHB.  We contend that the following issues have undermined our ability to establish a trusting, respectful relationship with the PTHB’s current leadership:

  • Lack of Transparency:  Although the PTHB has officially indicated that no “surplus land” at the BCH site is available for development, they have not provided any explanation as to how approximately 50 acres of vacant land and unutilised buildings will be used.
  • Lack of Communication:  The PTHB has consistently refused requests for a meeting to discuss the community’s concerns regarding asset stripping and the continued deterioration of facilities at the BCH site.
  • Lack of Collaboration:  The PTHB is highly reluctant to discuss BWBP’s proposals for using available land and redundant buildings at the BCH site to create a Well-Being Community Hub.

Our Considered Contentions

Although we began our journey in 2012 with a mission to retain certain health services at BCH, our efforts quickly evolved into a vision to create a Well-Being Community Hub, an environment that will meet the economic, social, and housing needs of people now and in generations to come.  Our vision is founded on the principles of communication, cooperation, and collaboration among statutory bodies, institutions, and community groups and individuals.

With so many government officials, politicians, and third-sector leaders endorsing and supporting our proposals, and with such a promising start a decade ago, why has there been so little progress in the realisation of our vision?

We believe we have repeatedly been given “lip service” by the PTHB, which does not appear to recognise our right to exist or our authority to speak as an official representative of local communities.

We also contend that the PTHB has not demonstrated any kind of accountability regarding the use of vacant land at the BCH site for the community’s benefit, considering that countless volunteer hours and approximately £500K of public funds (i.e., costs of The Prince’s Foundation study in 2011 and various feasibility studies funded by Arwain LEADER grants) have already been spent on substantiating the feasibility of developing a Well-Being Community Hub at the BCH site.

And finally, it is our considered opinion that the PTHB’s current executive team and leadership do not uphold the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which requires public bodies in Wales “to think about the long-term impact of their decisions” and to listen to the concerns and ideas of local communities.

A decade of innumerable attempts to communicate with the PTHB has yet to result in any meaningful response or engagement on the part of that public body.

Our Hopes and Expectations Despite our less-than-harmonious interactions with the PTHB over this past decade, we remain dedicated to our vision and mission to create a Well-Being Community Hub, with a rejuvenated Bronllys Community Hospital at its centre. Although we have experienced a great degree of frustration and disappointment over the PTHB’s apparent lack of transparency, communication, and collaboration, we refuse to adopt a pessimistic outlook and are confident that its executive team and leadership will eventually recognise our organisation as a legitimate representative of the community’s concerns, needs, and interests. As a result of our ongoing commitment to address serious economic, social, housing, and well-being issues in the community, we hope that the PTHB acts more responsibly as a statutory body in the following ways: We expect greater transparency from the PTHB regarding its decisions, actions, and plans.  Specifically, we are interested in having the PTHB explain in detail why “there is no surplus land” and provide documented plans regarding the future use of the land at the BCH site for the community’s benefit.   We expect better communication from the PTHB.  We wish to be treated by the PTHB with greater respect and consideration, instead of with what we perceive as contempt and disregard.  In recent years, we believe we have consistently been ignored and misunderstood by the PTHB and have been treated as though we are “the enemy.”   We expect the PTHB to demonstrate more collaborative attitudes and behaviours.  As much as the PTHB prides itself on collaborating with the community, we have yet to experience a collaborative stance with its executive team and leadership.  We fervently wish for the PTHB to embody the ethos of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and earnestly meet with us to candidly discuss the advantages and benefits of our proposals for improving the well-being of people in South Powys. As a community-led, volunteer organisation with almost 600 members, we do not exist to create what PTHB may perceive as difficulties and headaches.  Rather, our charter is to provide a valid, public avenue for the community to voice its needs and interests to statutory bodies. If the PTHB refuses to listen to our warranted issues and concerns, then we have no recourse other than to make an appeal to government officials, politicians, civic leaders, the press, and the general public.

[1]  “A Vision for Bronllys Hospital Site,” an Enquiry by Design report published by The Prince’s Foundation in May 2011: http://www.talgarthtowncouncil.co.uk/TalgarthTC/UserFiles/Files/110728_bronllys_ebd_report%20CD%20lr%20Enquiry%20by%20Design%20Bronllys%20Princes%20Trust%20Document.pdf

[2]  “New Directions:  Improving Healthcare Services for South East Powys” published by Powys Teaching Health Board in September 2012: https://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s14587/September%202012%20-%20Public%20Consultation%20Document%20New%20Directions%20Improving%20Healthcare%20Services%20for%20Sout.pdf

[3]  Petition submitted to Welsh Government in December 2012:  “We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to reject any attempt by the Powys Teaching Health Board to asset-strip the Bronllys Community hospital by closing or moving its Stroke Unit, nor by placing new services or service facilities for the region elsewhere and rather to instruct the Health Board to devise a strategy to build or re-build, improve and/or extend this NHS Hospital’s facilities, and services and resource expertise; and to retain and re-build this valuable community asset as a centre of excellence.  We further call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to instruct the Health Board to place Bronllys Hospital at the centre of its strategy for the provision of adult and older people’s health services in South East Powys for the next 50 years, and to release the necessary resources to make this happen.”

[4]  BBC news story published on February 5, 2014:   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-26021543

[5]  Based on a consultation report regarding the PTHB’s Board meeting on 20-02-2013, the PTHB agreed to “address the parking issues at Brecon Hospital” and to “develop a clear and robust plan for the future of health services at Bronllys Hospital.”

[6]  The PTHB held a public consultation meeting on 29-01-2014 in Talgarth Town Hall and also conducted “drop-in sessions” from 14-01-2014 to 20-01-2014 with residents from the following communities:  Hay-on-Wye, Bronllys, Llyswen, Talgarth.

[7]  “Bronllys Park: A Vision for the Next 100 Years,” published by the Powys Health and Wellbeing Action Group in August 2014: http://www.talgarthtowncouncil.co.uk/TalgarthTC/UserFiles/Files/Revised_Bronllys_Hospital014092016.pdf

[8]  An email sent by Lydia Powell (President, Action Group) to Mark Drakeford (Welsh Minister for Health and Social Services) on 08-12-2014 indicated that Bob Hudson (CEO, PTHB) and Jeremy Patterson (CEO, Powys County Council) voiced their support of proposals contained in the “Next 100 Years” document during a meeting with them on 01-12-2014.  This email also indicated that the Brecknock and Radnor Community Health Council supported the proposals during a meeting on 03-12-2014.

[9]  Email received from Mark Drakeford’s secretary on 05-12-2014 stated: “Unfortunately due to a heavily committed diary the Minister is unable to meet at present, however, he is keen to hear from Powys Health and Well Being Action Group and would very much like you to discuss your proposals with Welsh Government Deputy Director of Capital, Estates & Facilities, Val Whiting in his absence.”

[10]  Letter (sent as an email) from Val Whiting (Welsh Government Deputy Director of Capital, Estates & Facilities) to Bruce Whitear (Director of Planning, PTHB) on 09-02-2015 stated:  “At the recent meeting in January with the Health Board, we noted it would be appropriate for this proposed development to be driven by and co-ordinated by the Health Board and Local Authority. We also discussed and agreed the need for more formal arrangements to be put in place to support this work, and that a programme management approach and structure be adopted. This will then provide the opportunity to engage with key stakeholders, to include the Powys Health and Well Being Action Group, to ensure that any development addresses the needs of the community and is widely supported.”

[11]  PTHB’s 29-01-2014 presentation regarding the creation of a “Well Being Park” and the BCH site is available upon request.

[12]  The roles and responsibilities of the PTHB were stated as follows in the MOU signed by Carol Shillabeer (CEO, PTHB) on 12-04-2019:  “(a) Continuously engage and work with the residents of Powys, key stakeholders and interested parties (including the CLT) to identify  ways in which to best deliver the Health and Care Strategy. (b) Develop, as part of discussions related to the delivery of the Health and Care Strategy, a clear vision for the future of the Bronllys site. (c) Provide BWBP CLT with the opportunity to contribute ideas for how it may assist in delivering the vision for the Bronllys site.  It is understood that the merit of such proposals will be considered alongside those proposals that may be put forward by other community groups and interested parties. (d) Wherever possible, provide an office on the Bronllys site for use by  the CLT Project Development Officer and other community groups, and to continue to offer the booking of available meeting rooms. (e) Continue to assist the CLT with details, information and processes in regard to the future estate and site utilisation. (f) Work in partnership with the CLT and interested community groups to deliver the health board’s agreed plan to renovate Basil Webb, the Chapel and gardens. This will entail identifying funding sources. (g) Meet on at least a bi-monthly basis as appropriate with the CLT  and other community groups to advance working in partnership on the above key listed developments outlined in point (f).”

[13]  We came to this conclusion based onthe followingcomments made by Hayley Thomas (Director of Planning and Performance, PTHB) during a meeting with BWBP on 18-02-2019:  “I would like to say that we are very lucky to work in partnership with you.  This partnership all started with the Princes Trust Foundation and the community interest towards Health and Well-being.  We also work with the Veterans groups and with Friends of Bronllys, together with a large number of volunteers and admin staff – in this hospital particularly.  It is nice to see communities organising themselves and having a lot of vision.  We have been working over 18 months with the PCC.  There is a lot of similarity between our agenda and yours.  A paper was presented to the Board in January.  Various people have had an interest in the site but I would like to reassure you that we are committed to keeping the Health Board on the site.  We have had some small investment and we have brought back some areas of work and some services.  Basil Webb hall is one of our priorities.  The Chapel also, although it is not at present safe but we will take forward the Chapel restoration.  Parts of the gardens are also on the Register of Historic Gardens and there is a huge potential for the site.  I imagine that there has been some frustration by the volunteers at the lack of speed and I apologise.  It is not for lack of will.  We are also very busy pulling a plan together.  Your paper has been approved by the Board and it has been agreed that, with minor tweaks, the Board can sign off on the MoU and it will be given to the Chief Executive to sign.”

[14]  Hayley Thomas (Director of Planning and Performance, PTHB) made this promise during a meeting with BWBP on 18-02-2019.  Unfortunately, her assurance was not recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

[15]  “The Next Ten Years:  Bronllys Well Being Park,” published by Bronllys Well Being Park CLT: https://online.flipbuilder.com/itet/crgm/mobile/index.html

[16]  The various ARWAIN-funded feasibility studies can be found here:  https://www.bronllyswellbeingpark.org/archive

[17]  The PTHB cancelled a significant meeting with us scheduled for 01-09-2021.  It became clear that they were unwilling to interact with us after we made three attempts to reschedule that meeting.  We decided that our only recourse was to publish an “open letter” to them in the Brecon & Radnor Express in November 2021.  In our public plea to the PTHB, we stated:  “We received support from the previous PTHB CEO to come up with proposals for the grounds in 2014.  Welsh government then asked us to work with you and the PCC in 2015.  Finally your Board pledged to consult with us and the community in 2018 regarding this.  We thought this engagement was starting with a meeting of our two Boards set for September 1st however less than 24 hours before your CEO cancelled.  Since then, despite three requests to reinstate that meeting, you have not responded.  To say the least, this silence is regrettable.”  We also made the following request:  “We acknowledge the sterling work undertaken by PTHB staff at all levels in fighting Covid 19 and welcome the proposed Basil Webb Health and Social Care Academy development.  However we believe it really is time now to meet us in an open and positive atmosphere to discuss how – together – we could bring about this cutting-edge, exemplar project, one that would bring huge social, environmental and economic benefits to both the hospital and the surrounding communities. Why wouldn’t you?  What do you have to lose in sitting down with us and talking?  Please come to the table!”  This public request for a meeting fell on deaf ears; the PTHB never responded to our published letter.  On 13-12-2021 we asked the PTHB to meet with us but they indicated that circumstances prevented them from doing so and suggested meeting in 2022.  We sent emails on 26-01-2022 and 22-06-2022 requesting a meeting but never received any response from them. 

[18]  These assertions are based on Adrian Roper’s (BWBP Board member) written report regarding his meeting with Carol Shillabeer on 12-07-2017.

[19]  Ibid.

[20]  Two BWBP Board members, Lydia Powell and Zandra Pitt, attended this meeting and provided an oral report indicating that Carol Shillabeer made no mention in her presentation regarding our collaborative work with the PTHB and PCC under the auspices of the Welsh Assembly Government.

[21]  Jacqui Wilding (Chair, BWBP Board), who attended PTHB’s 2018 AGM, can testify that the PTHB originally agreed that we could set up a stand at the event, but when we arrived, we were told otherwise.  Ultimately, we were given permission, but only after we confronted the PTHB regarding their decision.

[22]  Jacqui Wilding (Chair, BWBP Board) and Lydia Powell (President, BWBP) who attended the 2018 Bevan International Conference, can testify that Vivienne Harpwood (Chair, PTHB) did not attend BWBP’s presentation.

[23]  Jon Adams (Project Development Officer, BWBP) can testify that the PTHB withdrew permission for BWBP to display posters at the BCH site.

[24]  The Terms of Reference that we submitted to the PTHB on 29-10-2019 was never signed.

[25]  The proposed Letter of Comfort, which was required to secure funding for the restoration of the Chapel, essentially stated that the PTHB supported the funding application and granted access to the Chapel for the purpose of its restoration.  Hayley Thomas (Director of Planning and Performance, PTHB) stated in an email sent on 27-11-2020 that “unfortunately at this time the Health Board is unable to support this application.”

[26]  BWBP sent an email to PTHB on 20-04-2021, which stated:  “As you can imagine, we are really busy finalising arrangements for the “Next Ten Years” Launch on 27 April, as well as preparing for the expected high level of interest immediately after the launch itself from our increasing body of stakeholders and supporters.  In addition, some of our key Board members are presently unwell or unavailable to attend a meeting prior to the Launch.  With this very much in mind and wishing to prepare as thoroughly as possible for our meeting with the PTHB Board members, the BWBP Board decided last night that more could be achieved if the proposed meeting took place as soon as possible after the Senedd elections on May 6th.”  The PTHB emailed BWBP an official letter on 22-04-2021, which stated:  “In light of all of the matters above, the PTHB Board has recently discussed the current working arrangements with the CLT and has taken a decision that these arrangements require review, particularly given that the MOU was intended to be reviewed within six months of its introduction.  The PTHB Board has therefore taken a decision to serve formal notice to terminate the MOU with effect 30 April 2021.”  Given that the PTHB provided only an eight-day notice, PTHB’s termination of the MOU violated the following clause of the MOU:  “Any party may terminate the MoU by giving at least three months’ notice in writing to the other parties.”

[27]  The attendance record for the Zoom meeting on 27-04-2021 indicated that no PTHB Board member attended the online launch of our “Next Ten Years” document.

[28]  Use this link to listen to PTHB’s comments made during the 18-minute segment (Time:  1:22:35 to 1:40:53) of their Board meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nma2DQwLWFQ&t=5071s

[29]  Use this link to listen to our 50-minute rebuttal of the PTHB’s accusations and erroneous statements:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYTsG5Jv5w&t=606s

[30]  The PTHB emailed BWBP an official letter on 31-08-2021, which stated:  “It is further disappointing that the CLT has published to YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUYTsG5Jv5w) a discussion regarding a paper which the Health Board considered at a Board meeting held in public on 28th July 2021, in which the values and behaviours exhibited towards PTHB Board Members appear disrespectful and are therefore unacceptable to us.  PTHB was of the understanding that the meeting scheduled for 1st September 2021 would provide the opportunity for PTHB and the CLT to discuss together PTHB’s position with regard to the Bronllys Community Hospital Site and to discuss a positive way forward for collaborative working for the benefit of the local community and interested parties.  It is evident from the discussion published by the CLT to YouTube (therefore available for public viewing) that the position and views of the Health Board and the CLT continue to differ significantly and that the CLT is therefore unwilling to accept the position of the Health Board as the legal owner of the Bronllys Community Hospital Site.  We therefore see no merit in bringing our board members together for further discussion on this matter.”



Brilliant News and Update


We have been awarded substantial RDP: Arwain funding to
employ a
Bronllys Well Being Park
Project Development Officer for three years.

More good news to follow in our next full Newsletter:

Contact: Teg Fan, Church Lane, Llyswen, Powys LD3 0UU; Chair: Lydia Powell; Vice Chair: Linda Hughes;
Secretary: Rosemarie Eccleston Office: 0781 5594799 powelllydia@hotmail.com



Powys health and Well Being Action Group: NEWS lETTER NO 5

& Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group Autumn 2016

News and Update for  August 2016

Welsh Assembly Government: Having gained the full support of Powys County Council by designating a County Councillor and a Director to our Steering Group and launching as a Community Land Trust the Welsh Assembly Government will be asked to support further progress. The Commissioner for the Well Being of Future Generations Act, Sophie Howe has been approached to meet with the Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group and Supporters in the Autumn and we hope that she will be the Keynote Speaker at our AGM

Powys teaching Health Board: Our Project Development Group along with Ian Crawley our CLT Consultant have met with Planning Director Hayley Thomas and Deputy Director of Estates Wayne Tannahill Estates Manager to discuss the drawing up of a Memorandum of Understanding in readiness for taking over the Grounds of Bronllys Hospital.

Whilst awaiting the setting up of a Community Benefiting Legal Entity, it is hoped that temporary and shared use of land and redundant buildings in the interim. Work is being undertaken to evaluate what will be available and we hope to present our proposals to the PTH Board soon. Powys County Council:Have assigned their Director of Place, Paul Griffiths, to our Steering Group.  We can now proceed with the process to achieve the Bronllys Well Being Park as laid down by the Welsh Assembly Government. Furthermore PCC has designated County Councillor William Powell to our Steering Group. Councils; Bronllys, Talgarth and Hay : have agreed unanimously to fully support the development of the Well Being Park in the grounds of Bronllys Community Hospital, supported the three Mid-June launches of the Bronllys Well Being Park Community Land Trust and are providing  Councillors to serve on our Steering Group. Other Local community councils have given their support including Gweryfed and Llanfilo.

Powys Health and Well Being Action Group: will meet on Wednesday the 26th October at 7 pm for its AGM, followed at 7-15 pm with a talk from our local Community Health Council and an update on local health issues. Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group:The Bronllys Well Being Park Community Land Trust, launched in Talgarth Hay and Bronllys in Mid-June were well, attended meetings. We now have over 200 member registered and have reprinted membership forms to meet the demand.

The Steering Group are heavily engaged in fundraising for a Project Development Worker.

The Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group AGM will be held at the Bronllys Hospital Concert Hall Bronllys on Thursday November 24nd at 7pm.

All Members and anyone interested in the Bronllys Well Being Park proposals are invited to attend

At 7-15pm there will be a presentation on Bronllys Well Being Park CLT progress to date and it is hoped that we will be joined by Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe to give a keynote address on this new act and how it will impact our communities.

The evening will be rounded off with a fundraising Quiz Night run by a popular local Quiz Master. Refreshments will be served.



Anyone interested in learning about the Bronllys Well Being ParkCommunity Land Trust is welcome

Contact:Teg Fan, Church Lane, Llyswen, Powys,LD3 0UU Chair: Lydia Powell; Vice Chair: Linda Hughes;

 Secretary: Rosemarie EcclestoneOffice: 07815594799     powelllydia@hotmail.com


Powys health and Well Being Action Group: NEWS lETTER NO 4

& Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group Spring 2016

News and Update for May 2016Welsh Assembly Government:In addition to the support of Welsh Assembly Government in March we gained support from The Commissioner for the Well Being of Future Generations Act Sophie Howells. The Commissioner will visit Bronllys in the summer. The Act shares the aims of the Well Being Park to look after our future generations, our environment and our communityPowys teaching Health Board and Powys County Council:- Early in February both organisations joined with us and our Community Land Trust Consultant Ian Crawley for an assessment of the Bronllys Well Being Park Proposal for the Grounds of the Community Hospital. Ian a retired town Planner worked as a Director in Islington and Bristol previously. The day was well attended by AMs Kirsty Williams and William Powell, County and Community Councillors in addition to our advisors and supporters. As a result of our progress and the workshop feedback  Ian produced a positive report recommending we progress to stage 2 funding by the National Community Land Trust NetworkYou can see the report of the Workshop Day in the Brecon and Radnor Express online :  http://www.brecon-radnor-today.co.uk/article.cfm?id=100712&headline=Bronllys

Bronllys, Talgarth and Hay Councils: have agreed unanimously to fully support the development of the Well Being Park in the grounds of Bronllys Community Hospital. Each Council will provide a Councillor to serve on our Steering Group. Additionally the three Councils will be supporting the three Mid-June launches of the Bronllys Well Being Community Land Trust in their communities.

Thursday 9th June Talgarth Town Hall 7pm

 Monday 13th of June – Hay School 7pm                                                                                                                              

Tuesday 14th of June- Bronllys Royston Hall  at 7pm

To enable this exiting proposal to fully develop can we ask as many of you as possible to attend one of the public meetings above or contact us with your support at;-Teg Fan, Church Lane, Llyswen, Powys, LD3 0UU;  or                 email:powelllydia@hotmail.comor give us a call on: 07815594799 Your support for Bronllys Well Being Park Community Land Trust becoming a legal entity with broad local membership will ensure its long term development and sustainability.Bronllys Well Being Park Steering Group: with its own Project Development Sub group was set up by Powys Health and Well Being Action last autumn; to focus on the Well Being Park development. This organisation has been very busy completing an Outline Business Plan and applying for funds to progress the proposals for the Park. In January three members attended the CLT National Conference in Westminster gaining valuable insights contacts and information to assist the Well Being Park’s development. In March a submission for our local development Plan to ensure that the hospital and grounds are designated as a Health and Well Being Park. This was successfully approved by Powys Planning Authority. The Steering Group has widened substantially since the autumn and the membership have a range of skills geared to meet the challenges of this exiting project.PowysHealth and Well Being Action Group:will meet in the Autumn, there will be an update on local health issues.Other News:                                                                                                                                                                 Bronllys Hospital League of Friends:Chair Maggie Simms now sits on the newly formedPowys Regional Partnership Board along with a range of other Powys voluntary organisations.Under the’The Social Services and Wellbeing Act 2014′ the partners on the board have to ensure that services are available to support the full spectrum of needs of our citizens, as well as supporting the most vulnerable in our community, There are still some of Friend’s booklets” Memories of Bronllys Hospital” available at Talgarth Tourist Office.


one or more of the following Public Launches on the following evenings at 7pm:- Thurs. 9th of June in Talgarth Town Hall, Mon. 13th of June in Hay School and on Tues. 14th of June in  Royston Hall Bronllys.

Chair: Lydia Powell; Vice Chair: Linda Hughes; Sec: Jacqui Wilding

Powys health and Well Being Action Group: NEWS lETTER NO 3

News and Update for August/September 2015.Welsh Assembly Government: In August we received renewed support for our coproduction work withPowys teaching Health Board and Powys County Council to develop a Well Being Park in the Grounds of Bronllys Community Hospital. Health Minister Mark Drakeford’s replying to AM William Powell’s question to the First Minister said the following“It is essential that all key stakeholders play an active role in determining what is best required to meet local needs. Given the range of public services and developments that could be included, not only relating to health and wellbeing, but economic development, leisure, tourism and housing….. I would also be looking to partners and stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to the development by offering the appropriate support at this stage”Powys teaching Health Board: Steering Group meetings are now taking place at Bronllys itself and sharing of this resource is much valued. We have continued meeting with the PtHB Chair Viv Harpwood, Planning Director Hayley Thomas and Estates Manager Wayne Tannahill and have others pending. We have been able share the progress, advice and enthusiasm for what we are jointly trying to deliver. Practically we are arranging for Bronllys Park Display boards to be set up in Bronllys, Brecon and Llandrindod to share what we hope to achieve in the Well Being Park.

Powys County Council:- Following the presentation of the Well Being Park proposals to the full Cabinet in April and follow up meeting with Avril York Cabinet Member for Planning ,Housing and Regeneration we have successfully submitted that Bronllys Hospital and it’s Grounds be designated as a Health and Well Being Park.We have further meetings planned to discuss progressing the Well Being Park.PH&WB ActionGroup: Our Bronllys Park Subgroup is now completing the Business Plan which will see an appropriate Community Benefit Organisation legally take over the hospital grounds andrun the Well Being Park. In August we became Members of the Community Land Trust which has supported over 150 or so similar projects successfully for their communities throughout the UK. The CLT’s help, funding and advice will add to our own team’s skills and expertise. Thanks must be given to all who have contributed so much of their own time and energy at their own expense to get the Well Being Park proposals this far. However from now on the Fundraising effort is beginning in earnest. We know have a fundraising subgroup set up and all donations and grants will be gratefully received. In September we appointed a pro bono Certified Auditor to assist with financial oversight of the project development.                                                                                                                                                                                              Health and Well Being in our Communities:                                                                                        Bronllys League of Friends- has published “Memories of Bronllys Hospital” in August and copies are still for sale in the Hay and Talgarth Surgeries, Boughrood Stores and Talgarth Tourist Centre. Veterans at Bronllys Hospital have added an “At Ease” Garden to their Woodland Walk in the grounds. The official opening was on the 17th July, the 95th anniversary of the Official Opening of Bronllys Hospital by King George the V.


Contact:Teg Fan, Church Lane, Llyswen, Powys, LD3 0UU Chair: Lydia Powell; Vice Chair: Linda Hughes; Secretary: Jenny Francis;Office: 07815594799  powelllydia@hotmail.com


Powys health and Well Being Action Group: NEWS LETTER NO 2  

PH&WAG News and Update for June/July2015.

Welsh Assembly Government: We have written to Val Whiting of Welsh Estates as we are now in the position to request funding to develop our Business Plan for Wellbeing Park with Bronllys Community Hospital at the heart of it. We have been told that we Bronllys Park would be an excellent demonstration project for the new Future Generations Act that came out this year. We have asked WAGt to look at seconding an officer to assist the Well Being Park’s development. Powys teaching Health Board: – Following on from meeting Chair and Chief Executive of PtHB, Viv Harpwood and Carol Shillabeer we have met with Bruce Whitear Director Planning and Wayne Tannahill PtHB Estates Manager. They have also welcomed and supported the Bronllys Park proposal and allowed us to make a number of site visits and share relevant information. From this there have been discussions as to where Wales NHS will want to retain their 10 acres and lease the remainder for the Well Being Park. On the 6th of July we met Hayley Thomas who will be taking over from Bruce Whitear. We meet with Viv Harpwood on the 28th of July to progress the plans for the Park. Powys County Council: – We have met Avril York Cabinet Councillor on the 6th July and the Planning and Regeneration team to confirm who will be working with us and the PtHB on the three way working party to make the Well Being Park happen. We also discussed the LDP and have subsequently submitted that the area be designated as a Health and Well Being Park Powys Health and Well Being Action Group Organised aWorkshop in Talgarth Town Hall and agreed that we would set up a Business Plan Subgroup to draw up an initial business plan and look at what would be an appropriate Community Benefit Organisation to run the Well Being Park. The BP sub group has met twice and comprises an ex Ministerial Advisor, the CEO of an All Wales Caring Organisation, and an international Business Analyst and they are completing the first business plan to set up the Community Benefit Organisation which will take over the grounds and employ a development Officer to ensure that the Well Being Park delivers what our community needs to be there. On the 2nd July we had a public meeting at Hay School and shared our progress with Bronllys Park. The well attended meeting gave us fulsome support for the way we are progressing and some useful advice. We are now seeking funding to enable the first phase to get off the ground. Well Being News in our local Community:- Talgarth Sports EventFri 31stof July, Sat 1st & Sun 2nd Aug 2015 aFREE weekend of “Come and try” sports activities; promoting Health & Well Being through fun and sports.Just search for Talgarth Sports 2015or go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/Talgarth-Sports/1408133279490534 for details.Defibrillatorsalready in and coming to our communities.Erwood has a defibrillator, Llyswen is getting one and Talgarth will have two (one the Gwernyfed Rugby Club and the other’s going to be in the town square) Our next Open PH&WB meeting will be in October https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bronllys-Park-Wellbeing-Park/1527688794186118     Contact: Teg Fan, Church Lane, Llyswen, Powys, LD3 0UU Chair: Lydia Powell; Vice Chair: Linda Hughes; Co Secretaries: Jenny Francis and Trish Richardson;Office: 0781 5594799 powelllydia@hotmail.com

Powys health and Well Being Action Group: NEWS LETTER NO 1

PH&WAG News and Update for May 2015.

Welsh Assembly Government: We presented the Bronllys Park proposals to Val Whiting Welsh Estates and her team at the beginning of the year. We had a very positive response to our Well Being Park proposals in February, asking us to work in Coproduction with Powys teaching Health Board and Powys County Council to develop Bronllys Park in the Grounds of Bronllys Community Hospital.

Powys teaching Health Board:- Following on from the Val Whiting’s letter we have met in March with the new Chair and Chief Executive of PtHB, Viv Harpwood and Carol Shillabeer who welcomed and supported the Bronllys Park proposals.

Powys County Council:- In April the PH&WB Steering Group presented the Well Being Park proposals to the full Cabinet. They were positively received and help was offered to progress its development. The Cabinet agreed to confirm who would be working with us and the PtHB on the three way working party to make Bronllys Park happen.

Talgarth Town Hall General Election Hustings:- All political party candidates stated publicly that they would fully support the development of the Well Being Park in the grounds of Bronllys Community Hospital.

PH&WB Steering Group Meetings :-                                                                                                                                                         PtHB The Steering Group met with Bruce Whitear PtHB Planning Director and Wayne Tannahill newly appointed Manager of Estates to discuss the practicalities of how we can work together to develop the non-NHS part of the Bronllys Community Hospital Grounds.

  • In this meeting it was agreed that information could be shared to help us draft a submission to the June Consultation of the Local Development Plan. It is important to include the Well Being Park to ensure it meets planning requirements.
  • It was agreed that the Well Being Park Working Project Group would comprise PtHB, PCC and PH&WB and that when the Bronllys Park CIC is set up letters of Intent will be exchanged.

Workshop on 22nd of May 2015 at Talgarth Town Hall to develop our own Community Benefit Organisation to set up and run the Well Being Park for the benefit of the people of Mid Wales and to complement our Community Hospital.

Next Open PH&WB meeting will be in July/August in Hay. Details to be confirmed.