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Controversial tourism development near Llanymynech recommended for approval

Powys County Council

POWYS planners are advising councillors to approve controversial retrospective proposals for tourist accommodation near Llanymynech, just four months after a previous scheme was rejected.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning Taxi Licensing and Rights of Way committee on Thursday, June 6 councillors will debate a retrospective planning application by Robert and Margaret Pownall for the siting of four “geodome” tents and four decking areas for outdoor baths and a barbecue area at Laburnum House, Brynmawr near Llanymynech.

A satellite image showing where the site of Laburnum House in the context of Llanymynech and Four Crosses (Pic: UK Grid Reference Finder)

Three of the geodome tents have already been sited there and used by visitors.

The application also covers the formation of access pathways and car parking, proposed installation toilet facilities, installation of a sewage treatment plant and construction of two passing places.

A previous planning application was refused by Powys planners back in February.

At the time county planning officers explained that the application would have an: “unacceptable adverse impact upon the landscape and the foul drainage system currently in use is not acceptable and does not meet appropriate standards.”

The application has been “called in” front of the committee by local county councillor Arwel Jones.

Llandysilio community council discussed the scheme in a meeting at the end of March and objected to it.

The council believes that the scheme would see a 65 per cent increase of traffic on a small road and would also put strain on water supplies in the area.

They also point out that water company Hafren Dyfrdwy had contacted residents in Brynmawr last summer asking them to “limit their intake of water.”

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The council stress that there is an “even more important principle” at stake with this application.

The point out that the applicants have let out the geodomes to visitors and did not comply with a planning enforcement deadline of dismantling the structures by February 20.

Llandysilio council said: “There must be a clear message to the residents of Powys that they simply cannot develop where they want, we have a planning structure which has been agreed and must be adhered to.”

A graphic showing how one of the Geodomes would look like (Pic: Powys County Council/Morris Marshall and Poole)

Oliver Evans of Morris Marshall and Pool is the planning agent for the couple, and he believes the issues with the previous application have been solved.

Mr Evans said: “With the resubmission, we knew the importance of addressing the issues which were raised around drainage, foul waste and grey water waste.

“We have come to the decision to install a septic tank, with a drainage field for clean effluent to discharge.

On the adverse impact to the landscape – Mr Evans says the geodomes would be painted green to help them “blend” into the countryside.

He adds that two electric vehicle charging points would also be installed as part of the scheme.

Mr Evans also points out that the business – called Laburnum View Retreat – has already been a “positive addition” to the area.

Mr Evans said: “Many of our guests actively support the local community, with them often being seen in nearby pubs, restaurants, shops and using the local walking trails.

“As the sites grows, we hope this brings more business and employment opportunities to the community.”

Senior planning officer Kate Bowen said that planning legislation allows retrospective planning applications to be submitted in a bid to solve problems.

Mrs Bowen said: “Officers have been working with the applicant to resolve the matter which is the approach recommended by the council’s planning enforcement policy procedure and national guidance.”

“The issues raised by the community council have been carefully considered as well as the contents of the previously refused application.

“The provision of tourist accommodation is supported by planning policy, and it is considered that the alterations to the development have overcome the previous concerns in terms of landscape impact.

“In addition, the amendment to the foul drainage system has addressed the concerns.

“Therefore, the recommendation is one of conditional consent.”

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