Full application to site 4 safari tents, 1 sauna building and other associated works
LOCAL MEMBER: Councillor Craig ab Iago
A full application to construct four 'safari' tents, one 'sauna' building along with associated work
Attention was drawn to the late observations form that had been received
(a) The Planning Manager noted that an agent, acting on behalf of the applicant, had requested that the discussion be deferred in order to allow the applicant to submit amended plans and additional information in response to the concerns noted in the report. Nevertheless, the officers did not see the need to defer; there had been no pre-application and a new application could be submitted in future, and the Planning Manager elaborated on the background of the application. It was noted that this was a full application to site four safari tents, construct an associated building to use as a sauna along with other ancillary work including creating an access road, parking spaces, access paths, landscaping, service links and installing sewage treatment works.
It was added that the site was located among agricultural fields outside any defined development boundary in open countryside within an Special Landscape Area and the Dyffryn Nantlle Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest. It was noted that access to the site led through the applicant's residential curtilage along the existing private access road that backed onto a detached residential house.
It was noted that the applicant, in submitting the application, had noted in the Planning Statement that Policy TWR 5 had been considered as the tents would not be permanent, because they would only have a temporary connection with the land. The planning officers were of the opinion that the most relevant policy was Policy TWR 3 as more permanent elements were proposed as part of the development. It was added that there had been no clear information or adequate reference submitted about the intention with the timber platforms and the likely steps to secure them to or into the ground.
It was considered that the proposal to install electricity and water connections for the individual tents, create an access road, construct a sauna building (despite its small size), footpaths and hard standings and install a series of lights created permanent elements as well as an excess of hard standings which were contrary to Policy TWR 5. Part of paragraph 6.3.85 of the explanation of policy TWR 5 noted: "They should only provide basic facilities for sleeping, seating and eating without installation of water services or provision of drainage facilities for WC, showers and washing. This ensures that such structures do not generate a level of permanence that could increase the level of landscape impact and site restoration should removal of the structures be required.” It would not be reasonable or practical to set up electricity, water and sewerage connections at the beginning of the holiday season and then remove them at the end of the season. With these elements being fixed or permanent, it would not be possible to agree with the agent's view that Policy TWR 5 was the relevant policy for considering this proposal.
Consideration was given to the relevant requirements of Policy TWR 3, which stated: "proposals to develop new static caravan sites (i.e. a single or double caravan), new holiday chalet sites or permanent alternative camping accommodation will be refused in...Special Landscape Areas". It was noted that Policy TWR 3 does not permit developing a permanent alternative camping accommodation site on sites within Special Landscape Areas. Given that the proposal was for the creation of a new permanent site, it did not therefore comply with the basic requirements of Policy TWR 3 in terms of creating new sites within a Special Landscape Area.
It was highlighted that the application site was substantial given that the proposal was for four tents only, and there was also concern that the parking spaces were an unnecessary over-provision. It was considered that the scale of the development was excessive in terms of its extensiveness, and restricting it to a smaller area closer to the existing construction could possibly be an improvement with regard to visual amenities. It was added that criterion 2 of policy PCYFF 3 noted that a proposal was required to respect the context of the site along with its place in the local landscape.
Attention was drawn to concerns submitted by Natural Resources Wales with regard to the proposal for removing foul drainage water into a private sewerage system rather than connecting to the main sewer system.
Attention was also drawn to the observations of the Transportation Unit in response to concerns from local residents about an increase in traffic on the existing rural roads network. With only four tents noted in the plan, the Transportation Unit was not of the opinion that there would be a significant increase to the movements in and out of the site. Nevertheless, the Transportation Unit considered the parking provision to be excessive, and that it would be reasonable to request that the applicant amend the plan to accurately reflect the numbers.
(b) Exercising his right to speak, an objector to the application noted the following main points:-
· That he represented the residents of the Nebo community
· That too many parking spaces had been noted for the proposal
· There were no local provisions available for the enterprise - no shop, restaurants
· The local roads network was narrow and winding and, therefore, it would be difficult for it to cope with more journeys
· The proposal was very close to nearby houses that would have to deal with noise, dust, light pollution and unnecessary disturbance
· The plan showed the tents as being close together.
· The site was located on a hill, and was therefore prominent in the landscape
· The general impact would be detrimental
· A request for the Committee to follow the officers' recommendation and refuse the application
(c) Exercising his right to speak, the applicant’s agent noted the following main points:-
· That the hard standings would not be permanent - they would be removed at the end of the season
· That caravan sites provided hard standings, water and electricity - this was a common provision.
· The proposal was not dissimilar to touring caravan sites
· That it would be possible to make amendments in the context of paths and lighting so that they would not seem obtrusive
The above reasons responded to reasons 1 and 4 for refusal, and therefore there were no grounds for refusal
· That it was important to consider the scale of the location - it would be marketed for families
· There would be no noise, and Public Protection had not submitted observations on this matter
· It was suggested that a condition could be imposed for some of the features and, consequently, refusal reason 3 did not stand in terms of connecting with a sewer. It was highlighted that Welsh Water had expressed that it would not be practical to connect the pipe - no justification for doing this.
(ch) It was proposed and seconded to refuse the application.
(d) In response to a question regarding a decision at a recent appeal with regard to the size and surface area of the tents and how this application compared with the application in question, the Planning Manager noted that, amongst other things, the application of the appeal had no intention to connect services, and was therefore different to the application in question.
RESOLVED to refuse the application on the following grounds:
1. The proposal involved the creation of a new static alternative camping accommodation site within a Special Landscape Area. Policy TWR 3 of the Gwynedd and Anglesey Joint Local Development Plan did not permit the development of new alternative static caravan sites within Special Landscape Areas. The proposal was, therefore, contrary to Policy TWR 3 of the Anglesey and Gwynedd Joint Local Development Plan (July 2017).
2. Policy ISA 1 approved proposals only when adequate infrastructure capacity existed. In this case, it was not believed that providing private sewerage treatment work within an area with a public sewerage system was acceptable and therefore it was not believed that the proposal satisfied the relevant requirements of policy ISA 1 of the Gwynedd and Anglesey Joint Local Development Plan (July 2017).
3. Criterion 7 of Policy PCYFF 2 states that proposals will be refused if they have a significant detrimental impact on the amenities of occupants of local residences due to an increase in activity, disturbance, noise or other forms of nuisance. The Local Planning Authority was of the opinion that the proposal was likely to lead to unacceptable disturbance on the amenities of local houses and that this would be contrary to the requirements of policy PCYFF 2 of the Gwynedd and Anglesey Joint Local Development Plan (July 2017).
4. The relevant requirements of policies PCYFF 3 and PCYFF 4 noted that developments were expected to respect the context of the site and its place in the landscape and integrate with its surroundings. It was believed that the proposal, based on the scale of the entire proposed development site, as well as the presence, form and scale of permanent features such as an access road, parking spaces, access paths, timber platforms, sauna building and permanent connections were unacceptable features that were contrary to the relevant requirements of criteria 1 and 2 of policy PCYFF 3 as well as PCYFF 4 of the Gwynedd and Anglesey Joint Local Development Plan (July 2017) which stated that all proposals should integrate with their surroundings.