Caravan site gets go-ahead against advice

By Dale Spridgeon   |   Local Democracy Reporter   |
Wednesday 6th July 2022 12:22 pm
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Gwynedd Council building
(Gwynedd Council )

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Plans for a 32-pitch caravan site in an area of outstanding beauty on the Llŷn Peninsula will go ahead – despite warnings against a “significant and detrimental” visual impact.

Environment officers “firmly” recommended councillors reject a full planning application for the change of use of agricultural land at Tyddyn Isaf at Tudweiliog.

But Gwynedd Councillors went against the advice at a planning meeting on Monday, accepting the tourer caravan park proposals, which included a shower/toilet building, associated hard standings, resurfacing and access.

The site and nearby area falls within the Llŷn Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Llŷn and Bardsey Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest.

Gwynedd Council’s assistant head of environment Gareth Jones strongly urged councillors to reject the application for its visual effect on the area, landscaping issues and policy.

If accepted, he said the action would be “contrary” to the council’s own policy”.

“The guidance for this type of site is quite clear. It must be well concealed. This is an open site surrounded by empty fields, it would be very visible for many years.”

Despite the submission of detailed landscaping plans he said the site would not comply with “relevant local and national policies and guidance”.

“It’s not any landscape,” he added.

“It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty, the land has the same status as the national park in planning terms.

“New caravan developments and site extensions in prominent areas need to be refused.”

His report noted an increase in caravan sites, especially around Aberdaron and the northern coast.

“There is concern in the management plan about the cumulative impact of a number of new sites fairly close together,” he said.

“This application would not protect nor improve the special landscape.”

By accepting the application, the council was “putting itself into a difficult position” when considering similar applications.

“We would be undermining our own planning policies,” he said, and the plan would have a “substantially significant and harmful impact on the visual amenities of the local area”.

“We firmly recommend it is refused.”

A letter from Morfa Nefyn and Tudweiliog Cllr, Gareth Tudor Jones, was read out by Cllr Edgar Wyn Owen, chairing the meeting.

Cllr Tudor Jones, who had been unable to attend due to a funeral, said neighbours were “fully supportive” and the community was “unanimously” in favour of the site.

A petition had been raised and there was support from the Tudweiliog Community Council, the Post, and Lion pub, who saw “benefits” to the local economy.

“There are no voices objecting,” he said.

“On protecting the environment, the most important voices are the officers of AONB and NRW, willing to support it, as long as the caravans are hidden,” he added.

“Local residents had also shown commitment by paying for an international expert to landscape the site.

“It’s a challenging landscape but possible to grow trees in no time to ensure the development won’t have a detrimental effect on visual amenities.”

It was noted that with rising living costs, and rural economy under “great pressure”, it would give a “better future for a family of five to stay in Tudweiliog and contribute to their community”.

Cllr Griff Williams proposed the site plans go ahead, subject to work including expert landscaping.

Cllr John Pugh Roberts seconded, and it was accepted, six votes in favour, five against.

In reply Gareth Jones added: ” I assume the councillors’ proposal is based on the relevant planning conditions, that it commences in five years in accordance with plans, it limits the number of units, they have a holiday use register, use limited to holiday seasons, landscape and after-care, and a need to follow the ecologists assessments,and that the use of amenity block is in accordance with details.

Cllr Williams said, it’s ”a very thin line for the officers to refuse the application, when the bio-diversity unit had AONB officer have nothing against it”.

“I have 40 years in landscaping, the scheme offered will screen the proposed caravan park. I ask you all to support for this family’s application.”

Gareth Jones said: “Remember what planning policy tells you, the site should already be concealed.

“There will be years where this will be completely open in an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

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