A STONEMASON who was at risk of having to sell his home as a holiday let is likely to be able to remain living there.
Liam Kirwan has lived in his two-bedroom bungalow, which has a living room and dining area, and porch and patio, since 2020, but planning officers said his application for it to granted permission as a permanent residential dwelling should be refused.
Councillors however decided against rejecting the application and voted to defer a decision so a report could be brought back recommending it is approved with appropriate conditions.
The bungalow was built in 2013 as an annex to what was the main property, Glebe Cottage, and a 2017 decision allowed it to be occupied as an annex but also used as holiday let.
However personal circumstances saw Mr Kirwan sell the main house in 2020, meaning his bungalow could no longer be an annex to it.
Monmouthshire County Council planning officer Phil Thomas told the council’s planning committee that meant the only lawful use could be as a holiday let as he said its location, at Llantilio School Road in Llantilio Pertholey near Abergavenny, is considered to be in the open countryside.
“It’s not really a village, it’s a hamlet and considered to be in the open countryside,” said Mr Thomas. The Abergavenny development boundary is on the opposite side of Hereford Road where new housing has been built.
Mr Thomas told the committee: “Officers do have a lot of sympathy, the applicant has personal reasons for the separation of ownership but the application has to be decided on planning merits.”
He added: “With a heavy heart we recommend refusal of the application.”
But planning agent Owen Davies, representing Mr Kirwan, said supplementary planning guidance, already adopted by the council, meant the policy the officers had based their refusal on could allow a conversion of some buildings in the countryside for residential use.
He said refusing the application could see Mr Kirwan made homeless.
“He will be forced to sell it as a holiday let. We’ve had it valued by a local estate agent and it is significantly below the market value of residential properties jeopardising his ability to secure a replacement property making him potentially homeless and needing affordable housing.”
Mr Davies said a refusal would result in the loss of a “high quality house” from the housing stock and place further pressure on the local housing supply and said the council should “be prioritising more affordable homes in Monmouthshire not holiday lets.”
Mr Kirwan also stores his equipment on site and Mr Davies said his employment would also be at risk as he would have to relocate “to another place as yet undecided.”
Croesonen Labour councillor Su McConnell said the application was “on the cusp” as it has almost been in use for 10 years – at which time a property would normally be exempt from enforcement action – as well as being “geographically on the cusp.”
She said: “It’s stretching the open countryside a bit as it’s right next door to a housing development. It’s not set in the middle of the open countryside.”
Abergavenny Pen y Fal ward Conservative Maureen Powell said it was a “difficult situation” due to the planning rules and asked: “What is stopping the gentleman having it for a holiday let and having a rather long holiday?”
Labour’s Sara Burch said it was “right” to have “strong policies against residential dwellings in the open countryside” but said calling the site the “open countryside was rather stretching the point.”
The Cantref councillor said: “It is between the railway line and the main road and approximately five or 10 minutes walk from the shop, the pub and the bus stop. It is a highly sustainable location.”