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Pembrokeshire Politics West Wales

Legal challenge against £6m Stepaside holiday park scheme fails 

A £6m expansion of Heritage Park, Pleasant Valley/Stepaside is proposed (Pic: Pembrokeshire County Council webcast)

A LEGAL challenge against Pembrokeshire County Council for a recently granted approval for a £6m expansion of a south Pembrokeshire holiday park has been turned down, county planners heard.

Back in February, Pembrokeshire planners were informed a legal challenge to a November 2023-granted application for works at Heritage Park, Pleasant Valley/Stepaside had been launched.

The holiday park scheme had previously been backed twice by county planners after a ‘minded to approve’ cooling-off period was invoked as it was against repeated officer recommendations to refuse.

The controversial scheme by Heritage Leisure Development (Wales) Ltd includes the installation of 48 bases for holiday lodges, a spa facility at a former pub, holiday apartments, a café and cycle hire, equestrian stables, a manège and associated office, and associated works.

It is said the scheme, next to the historic remains of the 19th century Stepaside ironworks and colliery, will create 44 jobs.

Officer grounds for refusal, based on the Local Development Plan, included the site being outside a settlement area.

Along with 245 objections to the current scheme, Stepaside & Pleasant Valley Residents’ Group (SPVRG Ltd) – formed to object to an earlier 2019 application which was later withdrawn – also raised a 38-page objection, with a long list of concerns.

A failed legal challenge to try and overturn a council decision to approve three separate planning applications at Heritage Park was launched in 2021 by SPVRG Ltd, which failed in early 2022; the council awarded costs of £10,000 despite external legal fees paid totalled £34,000 plus VAT.

At the June 25 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee members heard the recent judicial review call by SPVRG Ltd had been refused by the high court, the grounds put forward “not considered to be reasonably arguable”.

Committee chair Cllr Simon Hancock said a council request for SPVRG Ltd to pay costs incurred by the county council in defending the claim had now been submitted.

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