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Saundersfoot mobile sauna approved by national park planners

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A MOBILE sauna at a Pembrokeshire seaside village car park by a national park staff member has been backed by planners despite concerns that ‘cold-water dipping’ could pose potential health risks.

In an application before Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s development management committee meeting of June 5, Bryony Rees and Miss K Evans sought a temporary two-year change of use of land to accommodate a mobile sauna at Saundersfoot Harbour, with planners recommended to conditionally approve the scheme.

The proposal for the off-grid wood-fired sauna, complete with a bespoke changing area, was brought to the Development Management Committee as the applicant is a member of staff who works for the authority.

A supporting letter for the application said: “As local businesswomen our aim is to provide affordable outdoor sauna sessions in a beautiful location that is compliant with local town planning regulations.

“We believe the sauna would support the community of local people, and south Pembrokeshire whilst attracting people from further afield, providing an unforgettable experience that has many health benefits.”

It is proposed the sauna would be located on the edge of the harbour car park.

The supporting letter added: “There has been a big growth in both cold-water swimming and saunas in the outdoor settings, with over 90 saunas of this kind now in the UK. There are already a number of people and groups who go in the sea daily in Saundersfoot. The Bluetits community (which has over 3,000 members in South Pembrokeshire alone), a male group, a Breast Cancer support group to name but a few. Saundersfoot is also famously known for cold water ‘dipping’ with the largest New Years Day swim in Wales which sees thousands of sea swimmers enter the sea, as well as Saundersfoot Triathlon.”

One third party response has been received, saying there was a lack of proper consultation on the scheme, and raising concerns including visual appearance and it not being in keeping with the existing facilities.

At the June meeting, committee member Sarah Hoss warned that people chosing to take part in ‘cold-water dipping,’ entering the sea after being in a sauna could pose potential health risks for some.

She also said there was also “a big question mark” about the sauna’s location in the “busiest car park” in “one of the busiest resorts in Pembrokeshire”.

Bryony Rees, speaking at the meeting, said sauna users would be made aware of the potential issue.

Moving approval, Cllr Sam Skyrme-Blackhall, an open-water swimmer herself, said: “I think it will be an enhancement for Saundersfoot,” conceding she was a little unconvinced about the location.

Local councillor Cllr Chris Williams said the temporary approval gave planners the opportunity to revisit the scheme at a later date.

Business

Emergency work at Royal Lion Hotel given the go-ahead

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A PROMINENT Tenby hotel, which had an Urgent Works Notice served on it by the national park due to the unsafe condition of external windows, has been given the go-ahead for works.

The poor condition the Grade-II-listed Royal Lion Hotel has recently led to an Urgent Works Notice being served on it by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Safety concerns have been raised in recent months by councillors and members of the public over the hotel, in the town’s conservation area, overlooking the North Beach.

A listed building planning application to reinstate the hotel’s windows was submitted to the authority by South Terrace Developments Ltd.

A spokesperson for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has previously said: “The Park Authority has served an Urgent Works Notice on the Royal Lion Hotel in Tenby.

“The owners acknowledge the risk posed by the windows and have proposed an alternative scheme to begin remedial works, having recently submitted a listed building application to reinstate the windows to the High Street and White Lion Street frontages.”

An Urgent Works Notice can be served by an authority which believes that a building is not being properly maintained. It gives the owner a specific time in which to carry out necessary works.

The plan for the hotel sought consent for replacement bays and windows, insertion of a new door replacing an existing window, and minor ancillary works.

As a consultee to the proposal, Tenby Town Council’s members sought more information as to the materials to be used for the replacement windows.

They were also concerned about the proposal to install a door opening on to White Lion Street.

It was pointed out: “The carriageway is narrow in this location and vehicles often mount the pavement to pass each other which could compromise safety of individuals using this door.”

A report for planners, recommending approval, said: “An Urgent Works Notice is in force with regards to the unsafe bay windows to the front elevation.

“The application relates only to the original hotel building with listed building consent sought for replacement bays and windows, insertion of a new door replacing an existing window and minor ancillary works.

“The proposed scheme is in keeping with the character of the listed building, and its setting in terms of design and form. As such, the application can be supported subject to conditions.”

The application was conditionally approved by officers under delegated powers.

The hotel was rebuilt in the late C18 and extensively altered 1853-4 when the façade was remodelled and raised a storey to four floors with two tiers of canted bay windows, the report for planners said.

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Goodwick horse training school plans denied

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PLANS for a north Pembrokeshire equine training school for a business that doesn’t yet exist on some of the best agricultural land have been turned down by the national park.

In an application submitted to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Mr G W Richards sought permission for a 39-metre-long sand school for use in ‘breaking’ and training horses at Llanwnwr Farm, Trefasser, Goodwick.

An officer report, recommending refusal, said the proposed site was located “within an agricultural field which The Predictive Agricultural Land Classification Map identifies as Grade 3a land”.

It adds: “Best and most versatile agricultural land is defined in Planning Policy Wales as Grades 1, 2 and 3a. Land in grades 1, 2 and 3a should only be developed if there is an overriding need for the development. Officers consider that the applicant has not demonstrated an overriding need for the sand school to be located on agricultural land classified as best and most versatile. A recommendation to refuse planning permission is made.

“The proposal is to develop a sand school for use in ‘breaking’ and training horses. The Design and Access Statement states that this will allow the applicant’s son to stay within the area and develop a small business on the family farm. The business does not currently exist.

“The proposed use involving breaking and training horses is a use which typically requires a countryside location. In this particular case however, the proposal is for a business that does not yet exist and very limited information has been submitted to support the proposal.   In addition to the lack of justification for the use, Officers have significant concerns regarding the specific proposed location of the proposal. Planning Policy Wales Edition 12 section 3.58 states that agricultural land of grades 1, 2 and 3a is the best and most versatile, and should be conserved as a finite resource for the future.”

The application was refused on the grounds it would be “an unjustified development in the open countryside which would result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land (Grade 3A)” and “The proposed development is not considered to be well designed in terms of place as other land within the applicant’s control is available of a lower grade agricultural land value”.

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Council considering enforcement action against unauthorised wedding venue

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BUSINESSMAN Rhys Owain Lloyd, and his partner Carys Elin Mair Davies have found themselves at the centre of controversy in recent days.

Their operations at Redberth Gardens in Pembrokeshire, where they are running an unauthorised wedding tipi venue, have caught the ire of local authorities and residents alike.

Now the council is considering formal enforcement action, it has been confirmed.

Despite being denied planning permission by Pembrokeshire County Council on April 23, the couple has forged ahead with their venture.

Weddings have already taken place at the venue on May 25, with another booked for June, locals said. Lloyd and Davies, both from Carmarthen, are brazenly advertising and accepting payments for weddings and music events under the guise of Serenity Garden, even though they lack the necessary wedding licence.

The properties they advertise for accommodation—safari tents and glamping pods—do not have the requisite planning permission. Furthermore, the lodges have not been signed off by building regulations, raising serious concerns about their ability to secure insurance for guests.

As if these infractions weren’t enough, ceremonies are conducted on a site not listed on PCC’s approved venue list. Adding another layer of complexity, the land used for these ceremonies is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is under investigation by National Resources Wales due to allegations of land grabbing from a local farmer, which has ignited a legal dispute.

Pembrokeshire County Council responded to the situation with a series of statements sent to the Pembrokeshire Herald by email.

Regarding planning issues, a council spokesperson said, “The planning application was submitted retrospectively following a planning enforcement investigation. The refusal of the application means we are considering formal enforcement action to remedy the breach of planning control.”

The council also noted that a separate planning application for an extension to the holiday accommodation, comprising three glamping pods and six safari tents, was withdrawn in May. “An indication was given that a revised application would be resubmitted,” the spokesperson added.

In terms of marriage ceremonies, the council explained, “The venue applied to become licensed as an approved premise for ceremonies some months ago. As part of the licensing procedure, we require proof of planning and event consent. Neither of these were provided with the application, so we have proceeded no further, pending receipt of these documents.”

The council is aware that the venue continues to take bookings. “Any ceremonies currently taking place are not legal ceremonies or undertaken by the Registration Service; instead, they are non-legal ceremonies conducted by independent celebrants,” the spokesperson clarified.

The saga of Rhys Owain Lloyd and Carys Elin Mair Davies at Redberth Gardens is a stark reminder of the ongoing issues with unauthorised venues and the difficulties faced by local authorities in enforcing planning regulations and ensuring public safety. As this story unfolds, the community watches closely, awaiting the next move in this contentious drama.

Although there is no wedding licence, the council have confirmed that there is a current premises licence issued under The Licensing Act 2003 for the venue, authorising the sale of alcohol and regulated entertainment.

The Herald has tried to contact the business owners for comment.

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