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TORFAEN: Planning permission refused for glamping site

A COUPLE who hoped to build an “off grid” house and provide glamping pods on farmland near Pontypool have had their plans refused.

Torfaen Borough Council planners said the proposals to build outside of the development boundary, meaning the area is considered open countryside, hadn’t been justified.

They also said as there is no footpath to the site on the single track Coch Y North Road at Pantygasseg visitors would most likely travel by car and highway officers were also unhappy with visibility for vehicles leaving the site, which they said would be a danger.

Steven Roberts had submitted the outline application for the new house and four glamping pods which would have replaced an existing hay barn and Mr Roberts and his wife would have managed the holiday accomodation from their new home.

But planning officer Simon Pritchard said, in a report, the application had failed to show why a new development should be allowed in the open countryside which is contrary to national and local planning policies.

His report stated: “The business plan and Planning, Design and Access statement submitted with the application lacks sufficient justification for the proposed new dwelling and four camping pods on the site. The applicant has failed to submit a detailed appraisal for this ‘rural enterprise dwelling’ and associated tourism.”

Mr Pritchard also said while the council intends to promote tourism it was likely people would have had to drive to reach the “remote and rural” site with the council requiring them to be “accessible by a range of sustainable modes of transport”.

He wrote: “It would increase reliance on carborne travel and would not conserve the natural environment. There appears to be no clear overriding need for the isolated development that would outweigh the harm caused to the character and appearance of the landscape and rural character in this area, particularly given the prominent position.”

The report said the renewable energy design features, of the proposed home, and additional tree planting were “welcome” but: “these are unlikely to offset the additional carbon emissions arising from the introduction of a new residential/tourism use in this unsustainable location”.

In the application the couple had said there is a local bus service which visitors could have used and additional holiday accommodation would have supported several local tourism attractions.