Home » Bid to open wedding venue on farm ‘not compatible’ with ‘country lifestyle’
Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Bid to open wedding venue on farm ‘not compatible’ with ‘country lifestyle’

The marquee at the Hobbs' farm in Mynyddislwyn (Pic: CCBC)

A PLAN to open a new wedding venue on a farm has sparked a local row with neighbours, with one objector claiming the proposal is “not compatible” with “the country lifestyle”.

Those who disagree with the plans say the venue, at Ty Cae Brith Farm, Mynyddislwyn, will create noise disturbance and could affect public safety if there is more traffic in the area’s rural lanes.

Applicants Marcus and Lisa Hobbs hope to host wedding receptions in their marquee on Saturdays – hosting events for up to 150 guests – from May to September.

At a protracted Caerphilly County Borough Council licensing sub-committee meeting on September 26, Mr Hobbs said there would be around ten events a year on alternate weekends.

“We’re not looking at running [the wedding venue] as a full-time business,” he said, telling councillors he hoped the receptions would supplement their Mynyddislwyn farm’s income.

Mr and Mrs Hobbs have lodged a separate planning application for their proposed venue.

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Separately, the applicants have held “for well over two years” an alcohol licence for a summerhouse-type “lodge” on their land, where Mr Hobbs said they entertain friends and family.

“It’s not a business – nobody can turn up off the street,” he said.

Much of the debate among objectors focused on the previous use of the “lodge”.

Allan Sharpe, one of the residents at the meeting who objected to the wedding venue plans, said it was “considerable overkill” for the applicants to seek a new alcohol licence given they already had permission to use the “lodge” year-round.

Mr Hobbs said a hen party they had hosted was “the only commercial event” in the building, and other events such as a “bottomless brunch” were private bank holiday functions for friends and family only.

Mr Sharpe asked why Mr and Mrs Hobbs felt they needed to own a premises licence “to serve your own family and friends” drinks.

“It’s mainly because we were slightly worried we were in breach of the law. We thought if we get licensed we are completely legal,” Mr Hobbs said. “It’s not for any gain financially.”

Councillor Shane Williams, a committee member, questioned whether the proposed three bar workers and two security staff would be enough if the venue held 150 guests.

Mr Hobbs said he had hosted two receptions in the marquee under temporary licence arrangements, and he and the staff were “able to manage it quite efficiently”.

Documents show Gwent Police and the fire service have not objected to the application, and the latter commented that “although lanes are narrow, a fire vehicle could still get access”.

Both the police and the council’s environmental health department have suggested adding a number of conditions to the licence, to which the applicants have agreed, the meeting heard.

Abbie Brown, a council environmental health officer, told the committee “no public nuisance” was expected to arise if the conditions were adhered to, and added “no service requests” – or complaints – were made to environmental health when temporary events were held in the marquee previously.

This surprised Ynysddu ward councillor Jan Jones who said noise was among the neighbours’ most common objections to the application.
One resident complained of hearing “voices” and “bad language” during previous events.

Both Cllr Jones and Newbridge ward councillor Gary Johnston spoke in support of the objectors.

Cllr Johnston said the local road network “presents numerous hazards for drivers” and called the wedding venue plan “incompatible” with the area.

He said there was “no place” for it in Mynyddislwyn, claiming those who lived there “respect the countryside”.

Mr Hobbs said he was “more than happy to work on” issues with the community, and Mrs Hobbs said she had reached out previously to some neighbours for sound testing, and was “trying to mitigate” any noise concerns.

The committee will publish its decision within five working days.