LATEST NEWS (April 2015): Is it all about to happen again? A huge new development is now proposed for Newport in open land adjacent to Feidr Bentinck. This proposal, if approved, would be the largest ever allowed in Newport. Many people will feel it is out of all proportion in terms of the effect on the environment and the impact on the community. An opposition group has been set up, and a website can be found at This contains full details of the development and interested people can visit this and make their own minds up. But we can't help a growing feeling of "déjà vu"!

THE CAMPAIGN IS OVER: The group is dissolved and all funds returned proportionately to those who contributed. We trust our work has ensured substantially better planning processes at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park and has made it less likely that situations such as this one will recur. This website will remain for the foreseeable future as a record of what happened. It will not be updated further so stands as it did at the time we finished our work.

FINAL STATUS: In early 2012 we asked the Welsh Government Ombudsman to investigate as our request that the serious maladministration revealed by this case be passed to the National Park Standards Committee was refused by the National Park. We regret to say that the Ombudsman declined to consider this request. Their reasons are given in their response here. You can read details of our request here.

According to the National Park's own Monitoring Officer, numerous mistakes were made by Planning Officers and £77,000 of public money was spent by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park handling applications and appeals. It is now agreed (including by the Welsh Government Planning Inspector who allowed the appeal) that Bettws Newydd as built breaches planning policies and by inference the 2006 approved scheme did so as well. Bettws Newydd should never have been built. See our appeals page for details of why the Inspector approved it. As a result the eyesore that is Bettws Newydd will now stand in perpetuity.

Yet no-one has been held to account!

We have asked several times for this case to be referred to the Standards Committee of the National Park for consideration of appropriate disciplinary action against those responsible.

See our statement (to the Western Telegraph) justifying this by clicking here and the article that resulted here.  See our letter to Tegryn Jones and his first response. See our letter commenting on that response (published in the Western Telegraph) by clicking here and this follow-up letter.

You may still wish to write to Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, about this case. The address is here. To his credit, he did appear in person at an open meeting of Newport Town Council to make an apology, albeit only partial in our view.

LATEST NEWS:    All news items apart from the notes above have now been moved to the NEWS page. See this page for a full news archive covering the campaign.

View from Beach (April 2009)

View from Beach

Visitors come to Newport (Trefdraeth) Pembrokeshire, from all over the world and enjoy lovely views from the beach. But the hundreds of visitors to this beautiful part of our heritage coastline now see a partly finished building (pictured) where previously only trees were visible.

Bettws Newydd is a huge modern building completely out of place in the context of the Parrog (harbour) within a National Park. It has been constructed as a three storey building, where it was intended, we assert, to be at most a two storey building - see drawing.

This web site was set up to lobby for the correction of this dreadful mistake, which has resulted in the presence of a building which is now confirmed to breach planning policy in many ways. Also to ensure such a mistake is never repeated. This site will remain for the foreseeable future in order to ensure that this terrible mistake is never repeated. (See BBC video).

More about us can be seen by clicking here. You can click the picture or here to see a larger version. You can write to the National Park to express your concern that noone has been brought to account for the mistakes, now admitted, that resulted in this monstrosity being allowed to remain.


How could this happen?

Until 2007, the site of Bettws Newydd on Newport Parrog was occupied by a small single dwelling bungalow, known to locals as "Jimmy's place".

The previous dwelling

Now it is occupied by a large three storey building that towers above the surrounding trees and buildings and is a huge presence on Newport Parrog, one of the jewels of the Pembrokeshire National Park. The building is just outside the boundary of the conservation area set up to protect the views and amenities of the area. Click this link to see how close Bettws Newydd is to the boundary.
The previous dwelling could not be seen at all, except, with difficulty, from the adjacent track.

Compare the size and visual impact of the new and old buildings - the pictures on this page show the size, and the picture from the dunes shows how it dominates the surrounding houses. The June 2005 picture shows that the original house had a base that was 2 metres below the drive (look for the car at the level of the window). Those who saw the original plans in March 2006 assumed that the ground floor of the replacement dwelling would be at the same level. (There were no levels on the plans at all to indicate otherwise). Instead the lower ground floor of the new house is roughly at the level of Jimmy’s old one with 2 storeys above this so that the development stands very much higher than expected. In addition, a lovely wild habitat has been destroyed and many trees have been cut down. It is extremely difficult to see how anyone could argue that the new building is no more visually intrusive than the one it has replaced but for years, the Planning Officer's of the National Park argued that it was acceptable.

If you want to find out more about all the mistakes that have been made, see our What Happened section.

Here's how you can help:

Original house (June 2005)
  • 21st January 2011: Regrettably we have decided not to challenge the Inspector's decision following legal advice. Hence our appeal for funds is closed. However, we are now pressing for the National Park to refer the many mistakes made to their own standards committee.
  • You can write letters in support of this and also expressing your opinions to the National Park, to local politicians and to the press - we need to keep pressing to ensure that this never happens again. See our "write a letter" page for addresses.
  • Please join our distribution list to be kept posted.
  • Pass the address of this site on to anyone else you think might be interested and encourage them to write also.

Planning Application (10/33) (2010) - refused.

Extract from new application

A 2nd planning application was received on 26th January 2010 by the National Park Planning Authority. This application was also refused, on 21st April 2010, by the National Park Development Management Committee (DMC), again despite support from the National Park Officers. The developer then appealed against this refusal, and regrettably, his appeal was allowed on 10th December 2010. It should be noted that the Inspector agreed with the DMC that the as-built building breached local planning policies in multiple and very serious ways. See list here.

Our position was that the new application amounted to nothing more than landscaping proposals - no changes to the illegal building were proposed. The image on the right shows a plan from the new application (click it to see a larger version). This shows the extent of additional ground raising and planting proposed.

The building has now been found (three times in all) to be in breach of the National Park Development Policies on many counts. The appeal only succeeded because of the existence of the flawed permission given in 2006 by the Officers - not by the Committee. You can see how this came about in the History Section of this site.

The second application brought out more information on levels and position which showed that, as constructed, Bettws Newydd , is even higher than the original dwelling than previously thought, and even further away from the position we contend was permitted. See our latest drawings comparing the two.

The original (and very similar) application was refused by the Development Management Committee in June 2009 when the building was found to be in conflict with Development policies by a vote of 12 for and 2 against. Details here.

Much more detail about how the building breaches planning policies and also how much it differs from both the original and the 2006 plan was given in the Officers' report to the October DMC.

Our statement giving more detail on why this application is flawed, can be found by clicking here.

Approximately 100 letters were written to the National Park opposing this application (with none in favour), and many other letters were written to the press, to the committee and to local politicians. We would like to thank our many supporters (there are over four hundred of you in our supporters database) for writing and supporting us. We would also like to thank the many supporters who have contributed funds to support legal and other action on this matter. More details are on the Fighting Fund page.

Finally, we remain very disappointed by the continued support of the National Park Officers for this illegal development. By doing so they have again ignored their own policies, and let us all down

Planning Application (08/361) (2008) - Refused

Approval for the new dwelling at Bettws Newydd (Grid Ref:SN04683958) was originally given by the Pembrokeshire National Park Planning Authority (PCNPA) in October 2006, despite substantial opposition. At the time commitments were made that "the height would be reduced" but the plans that were approved showed no reduction in height (and even had North labeled as South!). You can see an account of the history and the mistakes made by the planners under the "What Happened?" link.

Bettws Newydd (Jan 2009) - a 2 storey building?

The building was not constructed according to the approved plan; it is larger, higher and in the wrong place. No levels were established at the time and two planning applications have now been submitted (and rejected) seeking approval for what now exists. There has been huge opposition to this development, including a petition with almost 500 names, which was presented to the PCNPA Development Management Committee (DMC) on April 15th 2009.

On June 17th 2009, after months of campaigning, a decision to reject this application was taken by the DMC. The Committee Members ignored their Officers’ recommendation to grant planning permission and rejected it by a majority of 12 votes to 2, on the grounds that the application does not comply with Development Policies.

You can see our account of what was said at the meeting under the link June 2009 DMC.

Curiously, rather than enforce this decision, the Officers of the National Park (who have always, for some reason, seemed on the side of the developer) decided to allow a "re-run" of the previous application, as discussed above.

"Not substantially larger?"

From South: Old (red border) vs. New (yellow).

The Park Officers stated that (in their recommendation for 15th April and also 17th June 2009) that the new building is "more visible" but not more visually intrusive and recommended approval. The supporting text to Policy JUDP56 says that "it is expected that the new dwelling will not be substantially larger than the dwelling to be replaced". The new building is 6 metres higher, more than twice the height and more than twice the footprint of the original dwelling. See our drawings here. Many other applications have been turned down when only a few percent larger - so why did the National Park Officers treat this differently? We feel that the community and the many visitors to the National Park have been seriously let down by the National Park Authority Officers.

Following the appeal: Although the Inspector has, in our view incorrectly, allowed the unauthorised building to remain, he found that it breached policy in many ways. This, finally, demonstrates that we have been right all along. The position taken by the National Park Planners in agreeing the original 2006 permission is now shown to have been a major error of planning policy.


"No more visually intrusive"

The National Park Planning Authority is supposed to apply a number of conditions when giving planning consent, under the terms of the Joint Unitary Development Plan (JUDP). You can find full details of this plan here.

View from the Dunes

One key requirement (under policy 56 of the JUDP for a replacement dwelling) is that the new dwelling is no more visually intrusive than the original dwelling. But the building, now almost complete, is massively more visually intrusive than the one it replaced. The ridge of the roof rises 6 metres above the level of the ridge of the original dwelling. The building is now clearly visible from the beach, the dunes and coastal path (see the picture). In fact it is now recognised (following the appeal) that the building breaches planning policies, something never admitted before this by the Officers of the National Park, who must bear the responsibility for this travesty.

Google Earth Picture of the original dwelling

Aerial view of previous dwelling

The picture below is taken from Google Earth and shows how relatively small the previous dwelling was and also shows the trees and land prior to development. Many of these trees have been removed, and most of the original wildlife habitat has already been destroyed by the new development.

Dark Skies

A further consideration for a building of this size is the impact on the lighting level in the area. A building of this size and nature will probably be equipped with very bright security lighting. This would have a detrimental effect on our beautiful local night skies (this is one of a diminishing number of areas where it is possible to see the Milky Way). See Campaign for Dark Skies

How the building was supposed to look

This picture below is from the original planning application. Looking at this picture it is possible to see that the original planning committee (in 2006) might have felt the visual impact might be acceptable. It appears to be only the equivalent of at most two storeys above ground level. Now look again at the pictures of what has actually been built!

Drawing of new house from original application

Here's an alternative view from the original plans - look where the ground level is shown

Drawing of North Elevation (from original, approved, planning application)

View from the footpath

View from footpath before construction

The picture on the right is the view from the footpath that runs through the field south of Bettws Newydd. This is what could be seen in 2006 prior to construction. There was a beautiful view across the bay towards Morfa Head. This footpath is a frequently walked local route which is the only alternative route down to Cwm apart from the Coastal Path. The original house was not visible from here as it was very low lying and unobtrusive.

But now this view is almost completely blocked. The picture below shows what you can now see from the same point.

View (same point) after construction
You can just about see the sea, but most of the previous view, including Morfa Head, is completely blocked.


There are many more, and larger, pictures available in the Picture Gallery - just click the link.

This Web site is no longer updated.  The last updates were to cover the Monitoring Officer's report (May 2011) and the Apology to Newport by Tegryn Jones (January 2012).

You are welcome to contact us and can still join our mailing list to be kept informed, but we are no longer soliciting funds. Go to the "JOIN US" page.

Notes and Credits:

  • We apologise, but due to lack of resource we have only been able to produce most of this this site in English at the present time. We have been trying to find a Welsh speaking Web Developer willing to volunteer to convert the pages since February 2009, but it now seems likely this site will remain mostly in English.
  • We are also grateful to all the people who have sent photographs and other information for inclusion.
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