£60m waterpark and resort in Caernarfon recommended for refusal over Welsh language concern
Gareth Wyn Williams, local democracy reporter
Council officers are recommending that proposals for a £60m leisure resort on the outskirts of Caernarfon should be refused planning permission over concerns about the Welsh language, a lack of jobs created and its visual impact.
Maybrook Investments has submitted plans to develop the Ferodo factory site and nearby Plas Brereton into a holiday village and 3,000 square metre waterpark including restaurants, ten pin bowling, spa and on-site shops.
Including 173 holiday lodges and another 51 new build holiday flats, developers claim that around 80 jobs would be created while pumping over £1.28m to the local economy by 2024 and attracting 32,000 visitors.
The plans also involve nine commercial units on the former Ferodo car parts factory site, which has lain empty since 2008 despite once employing over 1,500 workers and being known as one of the longest-running industrial disputes in Wales.
Plas Brereton, meanwhile, would be restored and converted into four holiday units with another 18 holiday lodges built nearby, saving the historic mansion after falling into disrepair.
But a report that will be presented to Gwynedd Council’s Planning Committee on November 22 will recommend that councillors refuse the plans amid concerns over the visual impact on the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the language, claiming that developers have not presented enough information to disprove several concerns.
Objections have also been voiced by members of the public – although others were in favour – with Caernarfon Town Council also recommending refusal on the basis of flooding fears due to being too close to the banks of the Menai Strait and that the development would have a detrimental impact on the Welsh language.
While the applicants had originally proposed 208 holiday lodges, the plans were later reduced to 173 a well as the overall area to be used.
But despite the authority’s own economic unit welcoming aspects of the application, others have stated reservations and outright opposition, citing a lack of detail in the plans provided.
The authority’s own language unit noted, “We have particular concern about the employment opportunities offered – with only 79 jobs estimated as a direct result of the application – and how these would contribute to the stability of the language in the area.
“A statement is made on contributing to the retention of young people within the area, without any evidence to support that statement. This number appears low given the scale of the development and the facilities mentioned and we would like to see more information on these elements.”
Natural Resources Wales also state that not enough information has been provided, seeking more details regarding foul drainage, protected sites, and impact on the views across the Menai Strait.
While the authority’s own Rights of Way officer states the devlopment is likely to have a “significant impact” on the popular Lôn Las Menai path, which runs between Caernarfon and Felinheli.
But Maybrook Investments’ application claims that the plans would provide “much needed” holiday accomodation and boost the area’s economy.
Their supporting documents state, “Maybrook Investments Ltd want to develop the two sites, they can see the added value it will bring to the locality.
“It is equally important for Gwynedd County Council to see these two sites develop into sustainable, well-designed projects, which will form a new attractive gateway into Caernarfon.
“The Developer has formed a positive link with one of Europe’s leading leisure companies, who are keen to manage the sites. With it, they will bring their experience and knowledge of managing successful holiday parks.
“Both sites require a use that is sustainable, provides employment and encourages more visitors to the area.”
Gwynedd Council’s Planning Committee will consider the application when it meets on November 22.