A new planning application was received on 26th January 2010 by the National Park Planning Authority. The new application amounts, in our view, to nothing more than landscaping proposals - no changes to the building are proposed.

We are delighted to say that this application was rejected by the National Park Development Management Committee (DMC) on 21st April as reported here.

This page gives our reasons why this new application should have been rejected. These arguments are still very important now that the developer has appealed to the Welsh Planning Inspectorate to have the application approved. You can see information about this appeal by clicking here.

We wrote to each DMC member giving our view on why this application should be refused, and you can see the letter here, which complements the information below.

The application must be refused.

The new application is very long and argues that the existing (unauthorised) dwelling should be allowed, continually comparing what has been built with what was approved in 2006. The application states (in many ways) that the existing building is not significantly different from what was approved. This is just not true.  The illegal development is hugely different from what was approved.

For instance, as the Officers noted in their Report to the Development Management Committee in October 2009 "The 2006 dwelling was presented in the approved drawings NP005 to NP008 as having been sunk into the surrounding land" whereas they also noted that drawings of the as-built dwelling "suggested that there was no similar intention to “sink” the building"

The as-built dwelling is also not in the position as shown on the stamped approved drawings – It is much closer to the entrance and public footpath passing the site and therefore much more visually intrusive than anyone expected when consent was given.

The as-built dwelling has a greatly increased floor space above that approved. The site has been totally transformed by landscaping for which permission was not obtained.

The as-built dwelling is unauthorised. It does not have planning consent.

However, the key point is this: The application must be considered against Planning Policies, not compared with the 2006 consented building which exists only on paper.

The current proposal must be compared with the "original dwelling" (Jimmy’s house) and site that existed prior to 2006 and not the plans which were approved in 2006.

The proposal in this application is massively more visually intrusive than the original dwelling and must be refused in respect of Policy 56 (Replacement Dwellings).

The original wetland areas, many  trees and vegetation and thus valuable habitats previously existing on the site have been destroyed and Policy 65 (Protection of Biodiversity) and Policy  66 (Landscape Diversity) have been contravened.

The creation of the as-built dwelling has required extensive alteration of the site topography with importation of material from elsewhere. Now even more material is proposed to be brought on site to build up banking to hide the lower ground floor level of the eastern elevation so that it looks more like the one that was approved in 2006    This is contrary to Policy 67 (Conservation of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park)

The October 2009 Officer’s Report states  "It is your officers' view that having reassessed the situation, the 'as-built' dwelling does unacceptably affect public amenity ..."  The development is not in compliance with Policy 78 (Amenity)

The huge expanse of north facing glass, the embodied carbon footprint of the at least 68 lorry loads of poured foundations, the huge steel frame and the use of upvc in the very large windows are features not in compliance with Policy 76 (Design)


Plan showing how far new building is from the permitted position

The diagram above comes from the new application (Design and Access Statement, P21). This admits to the unauthorised building being constructed further up the slope (and closer to the footpath) thus increasing its intrusiveness compared to the approved plan. The applicant claims that this new position was approved by an officer in July 2007. Similarly the claim is made that the nearly 100 sq. metres of lower ground floor space and a high retaining wall were changes consented to at the same time. There has been absolutely no evidence of this on the planning file. It is highly questionable that an officer would have the authority to agree to such major changes which would normally require an application for approval.

Why are the National Park Officers arguing in favour of approval?

Despite their position above, the Officers have decided to support the latest application. Catherine Milner met with the Newport Town Council on 23rd February. She tried (unsuccessfully) to persuade the council to withdraw their opposition to the new building. You can read the Western Telegraph account of this meeting by clicking here. We are very concerned about statements attributed to Mrs Milner: "objections compared the house to the original wooden house on the site . This however was not relevant as the 2006 permission had been granted" and also “Whether we like it or not, doesn’t matter. There is permission for a big glass fronted house on the Parrog. The differences are so slight (between the 2006 and the existing house) we won’t notice it from the beach…It’s a big house, there is this permission, we are where we are”.

This is not correct. The new application, just like the previous one, has to be judged against Planning Policies, not compared with the 2006 consented building which exists only on paper. This goes against the advice by the National Park Solicitor last year. The differences between what has been built and the 2006 permission are very substantial, and numerous conditions in that permission were completely ignored.

We have now issued a Press Release refuting the Officers assertions.


Bettws Newydd from the beach
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