A CALL to extend the time allowed for a housing development – which would include four affordable homes – was refused by national park planners despite an impassioned plea by its local councillor.
At the June 7 meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s development management committee, members considered an application seeking to extend the time limit for the development of land at Trewarren Road, St Ishmaels, made by W & D Marshall & Warren-Davies.
Outline planning permission for 14 homes at the site was granted back in 2019, but that planning lapsed in 2022.
The application – to extend the time limit for submitting reserved matters to August 2024 – had been recommended for refusal by national park planners as being outside the centre boundary for St Ishmaels and approximately half the site classed as agricultural land of Grade 2, defined as best and most versatile land which should be conserved as a finite resource for the future.
A sticking point for the applicant was a change in policy since the previously granted application.
A report for planners stated the previous application was within the settlement boundary on the previous local development plan, but was not included as a residential allocation and excluded from the centre boundary, in its successor.
“This represents a significant change in the status of this piece of land since the original outline permission was granted,” the report said.
Agent Andrew Vaughan-Harries, of Hayston Development & Planning Ltd, said the Covid-19 pandemic had delayed the development, asking for a “common sense decision” on the extension.
“We’ve got affordable housing; this is four affordable houses coming to this village.”
He went on to say: “Overall, this scheme could be developed in the next 12 months, but we need your support; please don’t lose this opportunity for St Ishmaels to have this affordable housing.”
Local member, Councillor Reg Owens proposed to application be approved, backed by Councillor Peter Morgan.
“St Ishmaels is a thriving, living village. It desperately needs affordable housing, at the moment there is some land available in St Ishmaels and this is it.
“I would urge members to consider the needs of the village of St Ishmaels, the need for affordable housing; affordable housing in a village like St Ishmaels is a huge bonus.”
He later warned: “We are strangled with policy; we should be looking at common sense and reality.”
Cllr Owens’ call to go against officer recommendations was defeated by 11 votes to three, with four abstentions; members later approving the recommendation for refusal.