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Anglesey holiday chalet park plan scuppered by red squirrels now gets green light

A HOLIDAY chalet park plan in Llangefni previously scuppered over fears at the loss of red squirrel habitat has been given the green light.

A full application for the change of use of agricultural land to site 32 holiday lodges at Lon Penmynydd was granted by Anglesey County Council’s planning and orders committee, on Wednesday (April 5).

The scheme included the building of a reception, construction of vehicular access, site roads, parking areas and associated works on adjacent land.

At the previous meeting, the proposal had received 36 public objections, including from Llangefni Town Council.

The plans were submitted by James France-Hayhurst, Anglesey Lodge and Caravan Park Limited, through Jamie Bradshaw, Owen Devenport Ltd.

Mr Bradshaw had spoken at the March meeting, arguing local concerns were “unfounded”.

On Wednesday, planning officer Rhys Jones said the plans, although outside the development boundary area, were considered “acceptable”.

This was despite objections by residents and Canolbarth ward councillors, including local member Cllr Dylan Rees, who had previously cited red squirrel expert Craig Shuttleworth in arguments.

Councillor Rees had been concerned that “no mention” of red squirrels was made in the original ecological report.

The plans had previously been rejected on grounds that the plans had not addressed red squirrel habitats, chalets potentially being used as local residential dwellings and highway safety.

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A squirrel survey had since been undertaken, on March 12, and concluded there would be “no negative impact on red squirrels as a result of habitat”.

“It was unlikely,” Planning officer Rhys Jones said on Wednesday, adding that only two trees would be removed, and further planting would only be “of benefit” to red squirrels.

The chalets were restricted to “holiday use only” and the applicant had confirmed this and was willing to enter into a legally binding agreement.

A register of users would also be kept.

Highways officers were “happy” following the latest results of a speed survey, and there were” no issues” over visibility.

But, local member Councillor Dylan Rees, noted “with concern” that the application’s further ecology report now included proposals for “…32 holiday lodges and caravan park development,” which, he said, seemed to “intimate what sort of buildings the applicant intended to place on the site”.

Welcoming the squirrel habitat impact ecology report, he said “it should have been done in the first place”.

He refuted the claim the only evidence of a red squirrel was “a dead squirrel found 600m away from the site,” citing residents who “regularly saw red squirrels in their gardens – far less than 600m from the site.”

He also questioned how many of the proposed 3,500 native trees to be planted would be mature, saying new saplings would be of “no benefit to red squirrels,” for many years.

He felt the application failed to meet legislation and planning policy in respect of nature conservation and did not protect natural green space.

He added: “I feel the committee last month made a good decision and I urge you to hold fast to that decision.”

Cllr Nicola Roberts added members of the local electorate were against the application, and said it was “not in the right place”.

Proposing permitting the plan, Cllr Jackie Lewis said the site would be improved by a “quality development”.

Cllr Geraint Bebb disagreed, and proposed rejecting, on a number of policy points.

But Cllr Jeff Evans felt the development had “more benefits to the area than negatives”.

A vote followed, with five in favour of rejection and seven to permit.

In line with the officers’ recommendations, the application was granted.