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Plan submitted for £2m holiday pods near Tenby

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£2M PLANS for wheelchair accessible holiday lodges at the site of a Pembrokeshire deer park attraction, which has animals from the Queen’s estate, would make the county a more disability-friendly location, its applicants say.

In an application submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council, Mr and Mrs Evans seek permission for 15 lodges at Great Wedlock, Gumfreston, near Tenby, the site of a 176-acre deer farm attraction, opened last year, and a recently-granted market traders’ barn.

In a supporting statement, the applicants say: “Over the last 48 years, my wife and I have developed Holiday Parks firstly in Pembrokeshire and then throughout the UK. We decided to return to Pembrokeshire where it all started for us in 1976, to develop the deer park and are now looking to develop the wheelchair accessible lodge development, to support our business and for the benefit of Pembrokeshire and its economy.

“In 2020 we bought Great Wedlock Farm and set about applying for planning permission to open the farm to the public to provide a new tourism destination and allow visitors to re-connect with the countryside and natural beauty Pembrokeshire has to offer. The deer were purchased from Woburn Abbey and some from the late Queen’s estate (to ensure the highest quality of deer breeding stock). We opened the deer park in May 2023 with a great emphasis on catering for disabled persons and the elderly.”

They say the deer park has disability-friendly facilities, along with a specially adapted MPV allowing disabled visitors to the deer park to go on ‘Safari,’ viewing the deer, as well as electric buggies and trailers for wheelchair users.

“There is an ever-increasing demand for the type of development that we are now looking to undertake. We are now applying for 15 wheelchair accessible lodges that will be made available for those with accessible needs, specially designed and manufactured by Quality Pods Wales (located in Pembroke Dock). Using local suppliers underpins our business model to support the wider Pembrokeshire economy. Current build costs to complete the development are circa £2m which will add considerable income to local suppliers, contractors and the lodge manufacturer. This will bring our total investment across the site to some £10m, funded wholly by our own funds.”

The applicants add: “The development of these units will provide an inclusive and accessible environment for guests, in addition to the work we have undertaken at the main park already,” adding it would “also take pressure off the local housing stock especially as second homes are noted as an issue surrounding local affordability and availability of accommodation for permanent residents residing in Pembrokeshire”.

“Our initial research has noted that disability organisations often have issues seeking accessible accommodation in Pembrokeshire. Demand is considered to be high, with access organisations already wishing to book accommodation all-year round for their members. This development could support year-round holidays, which would be of great benefit to the local economy.”

They hope the scheme, if granted, would create five full-time jobs.

They finish: “I realise it is against the current LDP policy however this is a very special development for those of us with accessibility problems and I really do feel that an exception could be made in this case, without setting a precedent for future planning applications.”

The application will be considered by planners 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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Business

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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Business

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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