A PROPOSED £6m expansion of a south Pembrokeshire holiday park next to historic ironworks, which objectors fear would “swallow” the neighbouring village, is again being recommended for refusal.
The application for the works at Heritage Park, Pleasant Valley/Stepaside, which had attracted hundreds of objections, was recommended for refusal at the July meeting of the county council’s planning committee.
Members at that meeting agreed to attend a site visit rather than follow the recommendation for refusal, following a proposal by Councillor Mark Carter.
The application, again recommended for refusal, is now back before the September 5 meeting of the county council’s planning committee.
The controversial scheme 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.
Heritage Leisure Development (Wales) Ltd, is proposing a £6m investment at the site, next to the historic remains of the 19th century Stepaside ironworks and colliery, which it says will create 43 jobs.
The application has seen 245 objections raised, as well as a 38-page objection from Stepaside & Pleasant Valley Residents’ Group, along with concerns from local community councils, and rural campaign group the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW).
At the July meeting, agent Helen Ashby-Ridgway said the development, which would include a five-star spa available for public use, was of the “highest quality,” which would bring “high-value” visitors to the county.
She said there were no material reasons to refuse the application, the only one given was location.
“We must remember Stepaside is not set in aspic,” she told committee members, adding: “In granting planning permission you will taking a proactive approach in making Pembrokeshire a destination of choice.”
Speaking on behalf of Stepaside & Pleasant Valley Residents’ Group, Trish Cormack said she was pleased at the refusal recommendation but was disappointed there wasn’t enough emphasis on the environment, traffic and what the group sees as overdevelopment.
Mrs Cormack also said: “The beautiful character of the valley would be lost forever,” adding the holiday lodges would be “a sad and tacky backdrop to an important piece of Welsh heritage.”
In a plea to avoid Stepaside being “swallowed as a whole,” she said: “The very peace and beauty that residents and visitors love would be gone forever. Let us keep Pleasant Valley pleasant.”
Since the deferral pending a site visit, further representations have been received, a report for members states.
Stepaside & Pleasant Valley Residents’ Group (SPVRG) has claimed there are errors and omissions in the officers’ report previously presented.
Support for the application has also been received disagreeing with some of the matters raised by the SPVRG, saying the development would create jobs and boost the local economy, reduce the impact on local housing from second homes, and build an out-of-season revenue stream.