John Goodwin has lived in the area of Presteigne since he was born. Owner of a farm passed down through the generations of his family in Walton, John has seen changes in the Welsh countryside all of his life.

One of those changes has been the closure of The Radnor Arms, a village pub in New Radnor. Closed in 2016, residents of the village have been campaigning to get their pub back up and running, with community spirit at the heart of everything they do. John is one of those people, and he’s insistent on seeing the doors of the historic pub open again.

“We want to include people and welcome people to the community,” John says. “I’ve got so many memories of the pub and many good times there. To have a place where people can go and bounce off each other for a bit is very important. The pub is in the middle of the village and offers something different. The Radnor Arms is affordable and New Radnor has scope for a pub. It seems so desperately sad to see it closed and in the way it is now.”

Since the closure of The Radnor Arms, the village has been left without a village pub. Instead, they have created the Hub, which sees members of the community cook meals and raise funds for the reopening of the pub.

The Radnor Arms received funding after applying for the Community Ownership Fund, however, they have to match the funds before they can access the £240,000 from the Westminster Government. But progress is being made, even if it has taken longer than first planned. “Progress has been slow, but by a necessity. Everything is being done correctly. Credit needs to go out to the committee who are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. If we hadn’t done the grant applications, we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

The work of the committee has been noticed, and Fay Jones, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, invited John down to 10 Downing Street. But John is keen to stress that the glory isn’t just his, and without the many people on the committee, they wouldn’t be as far ahead as they already are. “The invite came about through the hard work of the Radnor Arms committee as we are trying to buy the pub. The hard work of the people involved filled out the grant for the application for the community ownership fund. It was a herculean task, and it fell on a few people. I wasn’t involved in the grant application, but I was involved in contacting our MP Fay Jones and she invited me to Number 10 Downing Street, but there was a lot of hard work involved from other people.”

He met Fay Jones in Downing Street. “She sent me a personal invite, with a reception of over 150 people from all over the country who have done grant applications. From charities to Government agencies, it was a bunch of people and I really enjoyed the day.”

John got to go on a tour of Downing Street, which he found surreal. “It was very strange. You imagine it as being a terraced house, but it’s like a mansion, it’s absolutely huge. The tour took me into rooms like the press room where they did the Covid updates. It was a really fascinating day.

“I told Michael Gove about the work going on at the Radnor Arms, as well as issues facing Mid Wales. It allowed me to talk about our issues with people.”

John’s upbringing in the area has inspired him to fight for local issues, and as a farmer, farming is important to him. “This farm has gone from my grandfather to my father, to me and then eventually to my son. Changes to Radnorshire concern me. I appreciate we need to make progress but the way things are being done is worrying. Things are being steamrolled through without paying attention to residents. The industrialisation in general is everywhere you look. Someone is looking to exploit Radnorshire and it’s worrying. My concern is that there is a lack of scrutiny when it comes to proposed projects.

“I want to see more engagement with eastern Wales. There’s a lot of funding for other areas, but nothing seems to apply to Powys,” John says. “I think we should make the most of what we’ve got here, rather than exploit the area.

“I just want to do my bit to keep the local communities alive. It needs a big team of people to do that, but I think we should be part of that team and fight for the community.”

John’s end goal for Radnorshire is to be able to have a sustainable future for his family, and that the countryside doesn’t change too much and take away from those living in the area.

Fay Jones said: “John has been one of those who have demonstrated huge dedication in saving the pub for the community at New Radnor, so fantastic to have had the opportunity to celebrate that.”