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Housing plans at Llanerchydol Hall in Powys refused again

Llanerchydol Hall from Geograph by Dave Croker

FOR the second time, historic plans dating back to the 1980s to build 16 houses on land at Llanerchydol Hall near Welshpool have been dismissed on appeal by Welsh Government planning inspectors.

During the last 18 months new owners have been working on their own proposals for the Grade II* (star) listed Gothic style mansion.

In parallel, Welsh Government planning inspectors have been dealing with planning issues based on previous plans for a housing development at the property.

At Powys County Council’s Planning, Taxi Licensing and Rights of Way committee on Thursday, June 6 councillors will receive a letter on the second appeal which was initiated following a legal ruling.

In 2021 M J Barrett had applied to Powys County Council for a certificate of lawful development to allow him to build at the mansion.

In 1988 planning permission for 16 dwellings in the hall grounds was granted.

The development would have been done in several phases.

Mr Barrett argued that as some work had been started on the scheme in 1990, this should allow the first phase for four of the dwellings to go ahead – over 30 years later.

Powys planners rejected the application as they believed that a reserved matters applications that discussed details of the development had not been approved and that a fresh planning application was needed.

Parts of the reserved matters applications had not been carried out.

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Their decision was backed up by planning inspector Richard Jenkins who agreed in October 2022, that the time limit had expired.

This effectively extinguished the old planning permission.

But a high court ruling last year ordered that this case  be looked at again by another planning inspector.

This was to investigate one specific issue which is seen to be at the “heart” of the planning permission.

This issue is whether a detailed landscaping plan was needed at the reserved matters application stage.

A drawing that provided an outline of the suggested landscaping for the development was included in that submission but was not mentioned later by the council in their decision.

Planning inspector Hywel Wyn Jones said: “Based on the reading of the decision notice, it does not discharge the need to secure approval of landscaping details.

“That is the finding of HHJ (His Honour Judge) Jarman.

“There is no suggestion that such approval was obtained via any other application or written request.”

Mr Jones explained that there are two tests that whether a condition creates a “true precedent.”

These are: whether it is prohibitive and whether it goes to the “heart” of the permission.

Mr Jones agreed with Judge Jarman that the wording of the condition: “before any development is commenced,” is prohibitive.

Mr Jones said: “I turn to the second test, which is the issue that has been remitted for my consideration.”

To see the size and scale of the site and gardens that would have been mentioned in the landscaping plan, Mr Jones visited Llanerchydol Hall in April.

Mr Jones “Given the detailed requirements of (the) condition and the nature of the site and surroundings, I consider the level of detail of proposed planting falls significantly short, both in detail and in its extent, of what might be considered an adequate scheme for such a sensitive site.

“It would have been reasonable for the council to require greater depth of vegetation to ensure more effective screening to supplement the proposed tree planting.

“The inadequacy of the information provided with the reserved matters means that the acceptability in principle of a landscaping scheme has not been established.”

In conclusion Mr Jones said: “As it is prohibitive and was not discharged within the prescribed time scales, permission and the associated reserved matters approval do not remain extant and cannot lawfully be implemented.

“Accordingly, I find that the council’s decision not to issue a lawful development certificate was well-founded and I shall dismiss the appeal.”

After a Tudor house was burnt down at the site in 1776, David Pugh, a local man who made a fortune selling tea in London, bought the land and built a new house which became known as Llanerchydol Hall.

John Repton was engaged to landscape the surrounding parkland and gardens which included a Japanese Water Garden.

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