Supreme Court must reject Aberdyfi houses

By Mick O'Reilly   |   Editor   |
Saturday 2nd July 2022 11:00 am
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(Cambrian News )

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IN LONDON in the coming days, the Supreme Court will hear a decades-old case that will have very long-term consequences for the people of Aberdyfi and the surrounding area.

The case concerns a planning application that was first granted by Merioneth County Council in 1967 to allow 401 homes to be built in the village. Between 1967 and 1973, Merioneth issued seven further planning applications for the site.

Now, some 55 years later, the matter is before the highest court in the land for a final decision which, should it go in favour of the holiday park investor, will have severe consequences for Aberdyfi.

The history of this site is long and convoluted. Gwynedd Council became the relevant local planning authority in 1974. In 1987, it argued in proceedings brought in the High Court by Landmaster Investments Ltd, which owned the site at the time, that the 1967 permission had lapsed. The High Court rejected that, deciding the development could still lawfully be completed at any time.

Snowdonia National Park Authority became the relevant local planning authority in 1996, and in 2019, Hillside Parks Ltd, which now owns the site, brought a claim against Snowdonia to ascertain whether the development could still lawfully be completed.

The authority argued it could not and the High Court and Court of Appeal resolved it in the authority’s favour. It’s that case that will be heard next Wednesday, 6 July.

The development would, if granted, virtually double the size of Aberdyfi with the stroke of a pen, placing an intolerable strain on community services and infrastructure on the village.

So much has changed in our outlook on the environment, on the need to build within limits, to protect our natural resources, over these past five decades that it is hard to believe that this plan still has legs.

Yes, there are those who might argue that the application should be allowed to create affordable housing and to ease the burdens placed in communities across this region by second homes.

This development is no panacea for those seeking affordable homes — and to suggest it is naïve to say the least.

An executive home is not a starter home.

No, this application deserved to die a natural death over the past five decades. And this is no time for a resurrection.

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