The Welsh Government planning inspectors are currently reviewing an appeal lodged after Powys councilors rejected a proposal to extend a caravan park near Llanfair Caereinion earlier this year. The decision has stirred discussions and debates among local residents and stakeholders.
The proposal, put forth by Sheehan Holdings Ltd, aimed to change the use of a field to accommodate 20 additional caravans at the Fir View Holiday Park at Tan y Ffridd. This park is strategically located off the A495, nestled between Pontrobert and Llangyniew.
The Powys County Council Planning Committee’s decision to reject the proposal was contrary to the planning officer’s advice. The officer had recommended approving the scheme, highlighting its potential benefits for the local tourism industry.
However, the councilors had significant reservations. Their primary concern revolved around the proposed emergency evacuation route through Mathrafal wood, located at the rear of the site. This route, they believed, was susceptible to flooding, making it a potential hazard.
Adding to the complexity, the evacuation route in question isn’t owned by Sheehan Holdings. Instead, it’s a part of the Welsh Government estate and is typically used for forestry purposes. This raised questions about its viability as an emergency exit, according to a report by the Powys County Times.
Another point of contention was the visual impact of the expansion. Some councilors expressed concerns that the additional caravans would be a “blot on the landscape,” disrupting the natural beauty of the area.
In response to the rejection, Charmaine Sheehan of Sheehan Holdings lodged the appeal. They also made a case for the inspectors to award costs against the council, hinting at the financial implications of the decision.
Defending the proposal, McCartneys Planning and Survey emphasized that flood risks had been duly considered. They pointed out that the same “flood evacuation route” proposed had been approved in previous expansion plans at the site.
Further, they highlighted that the site itself would be situated entirely out of the identified flood risk areas. This was corroborated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), who raised no objections to the development in terms of flood risk.
Interestingly, two years prior, planning permission was granted for 54 static caravans at the same holiday park. This decision had taken the total number of caravans at the park up to 228, indicating a growing demand for such accommodations in the area.
The ongoing appeal and the discussions surrounding it underscore the challenges of balancing development with environmental and aesthetic concerns. As the Welsh Government planning inspectors review the appeal, many await their decision with bated breath.