Posted: Thu 8th Sep 2022

Gwynedd councillor hit backs over ‘racism’ accusations after opposing second home extension plans

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Sep 8th, 2022

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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