Caravan park rejected amid fears over traffic ‘nightmares’ and ‘Mexican stand-offs’
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A touring caravan park was turned down by planners after concerns over potential traffic ‘nightmares’ and ‘Mexican stand-offs’ along a ‘dangerous and narrow’ Anglesey road.
Residents feared head-on shunts, reversing backwards along blind bends and meeting large vehicles towing mobile homes along a rural route near Llanbedrgoch.
Locals had also reported to planning officers an accident on the same road just hours before the matter was due to be considered by Anglesey County Council’s planning committee last week.
The application to site 14 caravans on land near Llanbedrgoch had attracted more than 100 objections and prompted criticism of highways policies.
The proposal had concerned an area along from Llanbedrgoch Square, past Gwenfro Isaf to the junction near Bedd Y Wrach.
They included a change of use of a building for ancillary use to the caravan park and installation of a package treatment plant.
But the council’s planning committee went against planning officer Rhys Jones’s recommendation to approve, rejecting it with eight votes against.
The committee had delayed a decision over the submission by Bryan and Myra Jones, through agent Berwyn Owen, of Berllan Properties Ltd for a site visit on September 6.
The couple had hoped to create “a small, but good quality tourist provision,” to attract visitors to the area and bring economic benefits for the local economy.
But more than 100 residents and councillors had complained.
Catrin Owen told the meeting she represented 123 objectors from Lon Gwenfro and Llanbedrgoch,
“In an ideal world, we’d support an enterprise by local people, but we feel there are valid reasons to object,” she said.
“One of the main concerns was the distance from the A5025 junction and development, being about two mile along a “rural and problematic road.
“What happen when two cars and a caravan meet face-to-face? Where will they pass? Will we have to reverse round blind bends for 300m?” she said.
“Gwenfro is a dangerous, one-track road with no passing places,…we urge you to take our concerns seriously, we see this road every day.”
Berwyn Owen said it was just a “simple application” for a small caravan site, “they only ask for 14 pitches,” he said. It was “a chance” for a local family to “take advantage of the tourist industry.”
The initial application included traffic information and was initially considered acceptable by highways. But, Mr Owen said, additional details had later been requested by highways, so passing places were also agreed.
The matter had come back to the committee at the request of two local members, concerned at vehicles towing caravans meeting other vehicles on the Gwenfro lane.
Letters, emails, a petition, web comments, and a video were received by the planning department, as well as images of the accident the night before, which Mr Jones said had raised no “no new matters”.
There were no reports of accidents, the provision of four passing places was considered “acceptable,” as were conditions that vehicles would leave the park by 11am and arrive after 2pm.
Fourteen caravans was “not many,” and would not arrive or leave at the same time, a traffic survey had found the use of the road to be “low” and the application had “complied” with other policy requirements
But Cllr Margaret Murley-Roberts was “disappointed”.
“With every respect, what is wrong with the highways department saying this road is suitable for caravans? This happens every time, they avoid their responsibility and as a result these sorts of applications are approved.
“You have and will hear how dangerous this road is, accidents are usually knock for knock, not reported. It’s extremely dangerous turning into Gwenfro road. With the size of caravans today, I’m sure some will fail to turn there, it’s a horse and cart road.
“Many people have written complaining. We live in rural Wales, this isn’t a short section it’s narrow with lots of bends. I drive a motorhome around Europe but I would never attempt to go round Gwenfro – there would be a Mexican stand-off.”
She urged refusal.
The planning officer “sympathised” but had to deal with planning “in line” with policies, the application was acceptable.
Cllr Paul Ellis said: “I don’t think I have ever had as many as this by concerned residents. Imagine two caravans meeting – it would be a nightmare – there are only four passing places on the whole lane and two are not suitable.”
Cllr Non Dafydd was “surprised” at the number of objections and acknowledged the “serious concerns”.
“There was a serious accident last night. I also nearly had an accident when a car driver came towards me on the wrong side. We need to recognise local people’s views, there has been over 100 objections.”
Cllr Robin Williams was “concerned the road was not suitable,” and proposed refusal, seconded by Cllr Liz Wood.
Cllr Jeff Evans added: “Highways and said regulations, appear to me sometimes, to be simply the blind leading the blind. So often, historically, in planning, we see views against the public, those most knowledgeable about their own local areas and problems therein. This is a serious highway complication.”
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