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Extension to provide staff accommodation at world famous Portmeirion site approved

Portmeirion in Gwynedd, Wales (Pic: Mike McBey, Wikipedia)

A WORLD famous tourism destination will build more staff accommodation amid a lack of affordable homes in Gwynedd.

Cyngor Gwynedd planners have given proposals to extend ‘Cedrwydd’ (The Cedars) at Portmeirion in order to house more staff and key additional workers.

The development will see seven staff accommodation rooms and a kitchen built.

Created by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis and completed in 1976, the world famous Italianate village has a mix of gardens, woodland walks, shops, restaurants, hotel, conference and wedding venues and assorted self-catering accommodation. It attracts thousands of people to the area every year.

The plans stated it employed around 230 staff during the peak summer season and 200 throughout the year.

There had been a “need” for the additional accommodation, and the plans described how there had been “a recruitment crisis” nationally within the hospitality industry.

To attract workers with “the necessary skills and experience” the company considered offering “quality accommodation” on site as “essential”.

It stated: “It is essential for any company hoping to continue in the hospitality business to offer attractive terms to prospective employees and staff, and it was a big part of an employee’s decision to accept a job or not.

“It is certain that the quality of accommodation available is a priority.”

In a supporting document, written by managing director Robin Llywelyn, it was stated that a total of 110 staff worked in Portmeirion Hotel and 43 in Castell Deudraeth, and that the two had been short of around 10% of necessary staff.

Although the company “prioritised” hiring locally, it would advertise widely to help meet a number of “unfilled key positions”.

“Those applying for key positions, as a rule, need a place to stay to enable them to take a job here,” it read.

The plans also highlighted “an absence of affordable accommodation in the area”.

The company had tried to rent staff accommodation in the area, but there were “very few flats available”.

The company had rented some residential units, but due to factors such as employees working late hours and lack of public transport at night it was not a “sustainable” solution.

Staff accommodation was “essential” for hospitality staff, who often worked split shifts, which could be difficult for those who lived far away, and when working late, there was often a “lack of public transport at night or on Sundays,” it stated.

The application added the new development was adjacent to existing staff accommodation and in a location out of sight.

The plans to extend were considered “essential for the company to continue to offer a quality hospitality service throughout the year to safeguard over two hundred full-time jobs on site”.

The scheme was on a 1,500 square metre area currently a large garden and waste area.

Native trees and shrubs would be planted on the boundary, and it could provide for seven full-time jobs.

The decision was approved by planners, with conditions, on November 11, 2023.

Among the conditions was a five year time for the work, drainage approval, and the need to “safeguard the character and amenities of the area” as well as the “amenities of the neighbours”.

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