A DECISION by Carmarthenshire councillors to turn down a One Planet Development project has cost the council just over £6,000.
A majority of its planning committee voted against a planning officer recommendation and rejected an application by a man called Stephen Morris to live off the land at a three-acre site near Llandeilo.
The committee’s decision two years ago led to an appeal by Mr Morris, which was upheld by a Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector. The inspector also said the council had acted unreasonably, resulting in unnecessary and wasted expenses for Mr Morris, which he meant he could claim for costs. It has emerged that these costs were, according to a report before the planning committee, £6,100.
Mr Morris had sought to live on three acres of land at Penybanc with his partner and child in a single-storey timber-clad home and grow fruit and veg, willow, produce honey, rear chickens and ducks, and create a wildflower meadow. Music therapy sessions and guided hiking were also proposed. There were 43 letters of support for Mr Morris’s application and nine objections.
Some councillors claimed the applicants didn’t need to live on site and felt bee-keeping for honey didn’t meet the criteria of a land-based activity. Others backed the proposal, with one even warning of potential costs following an appeal.
The report ahead of the committee’s next meeting, on August 17, gave other details of planning appeals following refusal decisions by the council. New appeals lodged include one against a decision to turn down a Lidl store and drive-through outlet at Trostre Retail Park, Llanelli, and another against the refusal of two traveller pitches south of Coed Y Ffarm, Felinfoel, Llanelli. Last year there were a total of 39 planning appeals against council decisions and the majority – 26 – were dismissed.
The report also said the council’s planning enforcement team had investigated a higher proportion of cases in the first quarter of this financial year than all of last year. And the average time to investigate enforcement cases – 75 days – was markedly lower during the same period compared to 2022-23.
Meanwhile, the authority received 438 new planning applications in the first quarter of this year and determined 446 new and existing ones. It is meeting several planning target dates set by the Welsh Government but also missing some.