Posted: Sat 8th Jun 2024

Developers’ Proposal for Holiday Accommodation in Former Welsh Chapel on Anglesey Refused

North Wales news and information

A “controversial plan” by developers to create holiday accommodation in a former Welsh chapel on Anglesey has been refused. Island councillors had claimed the Llangoed, Penmon, Beaumaris and Llanddona areas were already “over-run” with holiday lets, including Air BnBs.
They also blasted proposed parking arrangements on the public highway in an already busy village area as “ludicrous.” The proposal to convert the Jerusalem Chapel into three flats, with extensions and alterations at the centre of Llangoed was turned down by planners this week.
It followed objections over traffic and parking issues and concerns of” over concentration” of holiday lets in the area. The issues were raised by Seiriol ward members Cllr Carwyn Jones, Cllr Alun Roberts and Cllr Gary Pritchard.
A previous plan to turn the chapel into four holiday flats was rejected in November, 2022. The application was made by the Manchester based Baby Bird Development Ltd, run by Loretta and Anthony Hodari to Anglesey County Council.
In a re-submission, the developers had reduced the number of holiday units to three. Planning enforcement manager Stephen Owen stated a business plan had demonstrated a “viable” proposal and would help bring the vacant 19th century building back into use.
He noted that the number of second homes and self catering holiday accommodation in the Llangoed community council area was 15.36% – just “marginally” exceeding the 15% threshold. The highways department had confirmed the parking proposed in three zones on the pubic highway were “acceptable.” .The application was considered “acceptable,” and he recommended approval with conditions.
But, councillors hotly contested the application, arguing that by allowing more holiday accommodation above the threshold was “setting a dangerous precedent” and opening the floodgates to more applications.
The community council had been against the application, and the development had attracted 82 local objections, and one letter of support.
Among the issues raised were insufficient parking, dangerous road, blind bend, impact on neighbours, noise, general disturbance , no space in the village car park, an over provision of holiday accommodation, and unsuitable location for holiday accommodation.
A lone voice in support, felt “something has to be done with the building.” In a letter, Cllr Alun Roberts said the application had been “controversial” attracting a lot of objections.
“Anyone, who lives or drives through the village will be aware of the lack of parking…It’s a nightmare to drive along this street at times, especially with larger vehicles, it will make things worse,” he said.
Proposed use of parking on the road was “not realistic” and did “not consider the rights of local residents who already found it hard to park. “Also the number of holiday lets in the area is above the 15 percent threshold, 15.36 percent in Llangoed, If you permit this today this number will go up.
“We have to stick to our guns, or we could be setting a very dangerous precedent,” Cllr Roberts added.
Cllr Gary Pritchard, in a letter stated, the development was “totally unsuitable and would add to the parking and traffic problems”.
“The site is opposite the only shop in the village, which is extremely busy, there are no other suitable parking places…”
He felt the traffic assessment “did not reflect the reality of the situation” and he was also concerned about breaching the 15 percent threshold.
Cllr Carwyn Jones said: “This is a residential area, not some tourism area, people live here, on both sides of this chapel. There is over provision, the official figure is 15.36 percent, that does not include Air BnBs, if that was included it would mean nearly a quarter  of properties were actually holiday lets.
“We don’t need any more holiday lets, Llangoed and Penmon is a residential area, not some holiday village.”
“What will happen in summer when the Anglesey population goes to over a quarter of a million a day. There’s no hope, we’ll have huge jet-skis, holiday makers, they don’t just land with one car, we see them in Beaumaris and everywhere, they have two cars.”
Cllr Jones said there were simply not enough parking spaces in the village to accommodate the new development: “It was dangerous during the site visit. A car nearly ran over someone’s foot. It was chaotic… it’s totally unsuitable in the middle of Llangoed.
Cllr Jackie Lewis also thought the parking there was “horrendous, at 11am in the morning” and felt it was “dangerous.”
Cllr Jeff Evans said it was a “between the devil and the deep blue sea application..
“If we turn it down, we are left with an ugly, old, derelict building which I would not want in front or adjacent to my house. Or do we opt for supporting three holiday units…which also brings problems?
“I would opt for the latter, I’d prefer the building used rather than becoming derelict…” He proposed approval, but no seconder came forward.
Cllr Robin Williams said: “A quick search on my phone to the east covering Llangoed, Penmon and up to Llanddona, there are 102 Air BnBs units advertised from September 23 to 27.
“The true figure of holiday accommodation in the Seiriol area is probably 25 percent higher.
Cllr Williams added: “We are over-run with holiday units, we need to stop this.”  He proposed refusing this application.
He was seconded by Cllr John Ifan Jones. The committee voted to refuse the application.

By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter

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