Posted: Tue 17th Jan 2023

Decision over Llŷn Peninsula touring caravan site plans delayed amid concerns over visual impact

North Wales news and information

A council decision over plans for a 19-unit touring caravan site in a wildlife-rich area of Pen Llŷn has been deferred amid comments about its “visual impact”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

A full application to develop the mobile holiday accommodation site at Tŷ’n Lôn, Afonwen came before Gwynedd Council ‘s planning committee on Monday (January 16). ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The proposal included the development of a toilet block and associated works at the rural site near Pwllheli. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The committee agreed on making a site visit before granting or denying planning permission. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

They were considering a full application by John Evans of Evans Caravan & Camping, Ltd, through agent Gwyn Pritchard, of Ty Newydd Cyf. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The development field was identified as a ‘Special Wildlife Site’, and surveys had identified badgers, otters and bats in the area. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Documents had been provided by the applicants, and with mitigation measures and conditions, Gwynedd planning officers had recommended the committee accept the plans. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

However, a community council had objected on the grounds of “over-development,” noting there were “many caravan sites already along the coast”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Councillor Gruff Williams told the committee that “people come to Pen Llyn because they want to visit unspoilt areas”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

He called for the plans to be rejected citing “over saturation” and the “visual impact” of the number of caravan sites in the area, including “one across the road”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

During the meeting a planning officer showed committee members a map showing sites arguing “there aren’t that many in the area.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

But it was “strongly recommended” that members make a site visit to fully assess the situation “in context”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The full plans would see 19 touring units placed around the boundary of an agricultural field, north west of the property. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

A new hedge to create the western boundary of the caravan field would separate it from the wider field. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Mature trees lined the existing field boundaries. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The site was in a rural location parallel to the A497 between the Afon Wen roundabout and Pandy junction which led to Chwilog. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Badgers had been recorded in the area in 2002 and 2003 and a preliminary survey had identified the presence of the two single badger entrance setts just outside of the development boundary. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Otters had been recorded within 800 metres to the south-east of the site and Japanese knotweed 600 metres south-east of the site in 2018. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

A desk-based biodiversity study had established that the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) Glanllynnau as 450 metres to the south-east of the site. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The special conservation area, SAC Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau was also 600 metres to the south. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The nearest bat record was of lesser horseshoe and brown long eared species, 650 metres to the north of the site, with Soprano pipistrelle species within 1km. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Recommendations in a badger survey and other mitigation measures included the requirement for a badgers licence and a caravans licence. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Conditions included restricting the number of touring units to 19 caravans only and its use as holiday use only, maintaining a register, a holiday season from March 1 to October 31, no storing of touring caravans on the site, planting a boundary hedge during the first planting season (following permission), retaining trees and hedges, and limiting hard standings to pitches. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Councillor Gruff Williams urged refusal of the application based on concerns about “over accumulation” of caravans and “over abundance of tourism provision”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

He felt it would have a visual impact on the “unique nature” of Llŷn tourism, adding: “People come to Pen Llŷn to visit unspoilt areas.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

He feared more caravan sites could see the area become visually “like the areas between Abergele and Prestatyn”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

The “effect on local people and Welsh language”, was also a consideration, and he added that “young people can not afford to buy houses in the area”. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

“People come to stay in the caravan sites ultimately, a percentage of them, opt to buy a holiday home here, that is the truth of the matter,” he added. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

Noting the number of caravan sites, he said: “We reach saturation point, the cumulative impact should be a means to refuse an application.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

A vote in favour of a site visit resulted in nine in favour, one abstention and three against. ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​



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