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Pembrokeshire Holiday Park Expansion Faces Legal Challenge

A local campaign group in south Pembrokeshire is mounting a legal challenge against a controversial £6 million expansion of Heritage Park. The Stepaside & Pleasant Valley Residents’ Group (SPVRG Ltd) is appealing for financial support to cover the legal fees associated with challenging the decision.

The expansion plan, approved earlier this year, includes 48 holiday lodges, a spa facility, holiday apartments, a café, cycle hire, equestrian stables, and associated works. 

Despite being twice backed by county planners, the scheme has faced significant opposition. Planning officers had recommended refusing the application due to its location outside a settlement area.

SPVRG Ltd, formed in response to a similar application in 2019, has been a vocal opponent of the development. The group submitted a detailed 38-page objection, expressing concerns about the impact on the historic Stepaside ironworks and colliery, and describing the project as a sprawling development that could overwhelm the valley.

“Permission was granted, even though it was against the recommendation of the planning officers and despite the objections of the three community councils involved, the two local county councillors, and 245 residents,” stated SPVRG Ltd in their latest fundraising appeal. “It also went against the Local Development Plan.”

As reported by The Western Telegraph, the group has a history of challenging such projects. In 2021, SPVRG Ltd launched a legal challenge to overturn council approval of three related planning applications, but the effort failed in early 2022. The council was awarded £10,000 in costs, despite the actual expenses being £34,000 plus VAT .

In light of the new challenge, SPVRG Ltd is seeking community support through crowdfunding. They estimate that the legal fees for the first stage of a judicial review will be at least £14,000 and have raised £1,200 so far.

“This has been a stark example of a majority of county councillors, first on the planning committee and then in the full council, failing to listen to those who know best—the people who live and work in the area, and their own expert officers,” the group added.

The Heritage Park expansion promises to create 44 jobs and boost local tourism. However, the residents’ group remains firm in its stance that the development will detract from the area’s historical significance and disrupt the tranquil valley environment.

As the legal battle unfolds, the case highlights the ongoing tensions between development ambitions and community and environmental concerns in rural Wales. The outcome of this challenge could set a precedent for future developments in similar regions.

SPVRG Ltd continues its efforts to gather support and raise the necessary funds to cover legal costs. The group’s determination underscores a broader struggle faced by many rural communities trying to balance economic development with preserving their local heritage and environment.

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Pembrokeshire Holiday Park Expansion Faces Legal Challenge! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/europe/united-kingdom/pembrokeshire-holiday-park-expansion-faces-legal-challenge/