Gwynedd councillor hit backs over ‘racism’ accusations after opposing second home extension plans
A Gwynedd councillor who spoke against plans to extend a second home in Aberdaron says his concerns have led to him being “unfairly accused of racism.”
Councillor Gareth Williams said the reporting of his views on a planning application in the media in July led to him being criticised on social media.
Cllr Williams had raised issues over a proposed garage extension at a house called Pelydryn.
He argued that by accepting the application planners could “open the floodgates” to similar schemes, which he argued were unnecessary and detrimental to the character of Aberdaron.
The proposals were discussed at Gwynedd Council’s latest planning committee meeting on Monday (September 9), having previously gone before the committee in July, when a decision was deferred pending a site visit.
This time, the committee approved the proposal by Phillip Emm to erect a single-storey extension at the front of a bungalow beside the B4413.
Cllr Williams had strongly argued the extension, which he said was a potential eyesore and industrial in size, would have a negative impact on neighbours
But council officers recommended permitting the extension as they said it was only a household application for a small extension.
Cllr Williams told Monday’s meeting that his views had not changed since last time and read out a statement raising objections.
He also told the committee: “This article resulted in me being accused of being racist and having a personal agenda as the councillor for the area.
“There were many other accusations on social media. This was totally unfair and inaccurate.
“The reason I refer to this being a ‘second home’ which is empty most of the year, was to highlight there is no real need to extend this garage.
“It will have so much impact on the amenity of the neighbours who are there all throughout the year.”
The plans included extending the existing garage, which formed part of the house, 1.5m forwards.
According to council officers, the design and proposed materials were “acceptable” and would not impair the character of the area.
The bungalow is one of four in a row between Capel Salem, a converted home, and Ysgol Crud Y Werin.
Officer Kiara Ann Sweeny said: “Nothing has changed in the application since it was submitted before.
“It’s not considered the development would be harmful to amenities of nearby residents or on the street scape therefore the recommendation remains to approve with conditions.”
However, Cllr Williams said: “There is not a need for an extension because a family is extending and growing – this is a choice by the owners of a second home to adapt it for leisure purposes.
“He wants to keep a tractor and boat in the garage when he comes to the house to stay.
“It will mean Pelydryn is different to the other three bungalows, an eyesore, totally out of character in my opinion, not in keeping with nearby houses.”
Cllr Williams also expressed concerns for the amenity of neighbours and claimed a timber building had been developed “without planning permission” at the rear of the property.
He said the site was “being turned into more of an industrial unit than a residential home.”
Regarding the timber building, Ms Sweeney said a separate planning application had been received for it and would be discussed at future meeting.
When making their decision, she urged committee members to consider the council’s policy regarding extensions, which does not ask for justification.
She added that there was no suggestion of any business activity taking place at the property.
Councillor Gruff Williams proposed a vote to refuse the application because of its impact on the surrounding Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and said it represented “over-development”.
However, monitoring officer Iwan Evans stepped in to advise members on council policy and planning officer Gareth Jones also warned his reasons for refusal would not stand up if appealed.
Cllr Ann Lloyd Jones said she didn’t think it would have a negative impact and would not effect the chapel.
She proposed accepting the officer’s recommendations, which was seconded by Cllr Hugh Wyn Jones.
The extension plans were approved by eight votes to five following the debate.
By Dale Spridgeon – Local Democracy Reporter
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