GWYNEDD planners have rejected a proposal to develop a 19 tourer caravan site on the Llŷn Peninsula. Cyngor Gwynedd planning committee was unable to establish how many caravans constituted “excess” – due to no definition for ‘tourers’ in planning policy.
The situation arose during a planning meeting, on Monday (February 27). The committee went against officers’ recommendations who had urged approval due to “significant risk” the matter could go to appeal. Despite warnings, members turned down the application.
They voted against plans to change the use of agricultural land to a caravan site at Afonwen. They included an extension of a building to create a toilet block and associated works.
The application was made by John Evans, Evans Caravan & Camping Ltd, through agent Gwyn Pritchard, Ty Newydd Cyf, concerning a site by the A497, between Pwllheli and Criccieth. Touring units would be placed around a field north west of property, Ty’n Lôn.
The development area was identified as a Special Wildlife Site, but the proposals were considered acceptableas it was deemed it would not have a substantial impact on the special landscape, amenities of the neighbourhood or road safety.”
Approval was recommended subject to conditions. Proximity to caravan sites, was noted, but not considered “over tourism.”
Sites were “small scale or well-screened,” there was also good quality roads, and the temporary nature of tourers had less of an impact than statics, planning officer Kiera Sweeney, said.
But local member Cllr RhysTudor called for rejection saying the area does not have an excess of tourers or statics, but “the highest intensity of sites for the whole of Gwynedd”.
“We have Hafan y Môr, it’s like a town, and Abererch Sands… they have their own railway platform – that’s the scale of these sites. Unless we can state there is an excess, I don’t know what possible circumstances we can ever use the criteria.”
There was a “weakness of policy” which allowed a definition of “excess” for statics but not tourers, he said. “There is a huge policy error…excess is excess whether static or touring. I’d say there’s excess, there should be a definition for tourers, otherwise they can be granted here, there and everywhere, we have to draw the line somewhere.”
Cllr Anne Lloyd Jones said she felt it would be appealed if rejected. She proposed accepting the recommendation, seconded by Cllr Louise Hughes.
Cllr Gruff Williams voted against, saying sites “did not adhere to rules” by not removing units over winter months.
Planning officer Gareth Jones said the application was relatively small and in accordance with relevant policy. The recommendation was “firm” to approve.
A final vote, for ‘a proposal in favour of rejecting the application’ went seven for, six against.