Councillors defy planning officers and approve family’s milk vending machine
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
An Anglesey farming family’s bid to keep a milk vending machine has been approved by councillors against the advice of planning officers.
A report presented to Anglesey Council’s Planning Committee had recommended refusal for plans to retain the already constructed wooden hut and hardstanding area at Neuadd, Cemaes.
Having set up Llefrith Nant this past July, at a site just off the A5025 en-route to the Gadlys Hotel near Cemaes, farmer Gareth Jones enjoyed 252 letters of support as well as another petition containing 3,312 signatures.
With Llanbadrig Community Council also backing the plans, the milk is provided from Mr Jones’ own herd at nearby Nant Y Frân.
The planning officers’ report raised several concerns regarding policy contraventions, claiming that the proposal would result in “the unacceptable and unjustified development of an isolated A1 retail outlet in the open countryside.”
But Wednesday’s meeting saw committee members stick to their guns and unanimously back the application – having been re-presented following a month’s “cooling off” period as is customary when voting against the authority’s own planning experts.
Addressing members, planning officers stated that their recommendation remained one to reject.
But one of the local councillors, Aled Morris Jones, backed the applicants and urged members to stick to their original decision.
“This small hut won’t have any impact on the local environment,” he said.
“It is going to secure a local provision and meet a local need, while creating a job on the family farm.
“This is local sustainability, and I would ask you to stick to the decision made last month and support this application.”
‘Even man caves’
Cllr Eric Wyn Jones added: “During the pandemic several wooden huts have been built, including garden, dog, wendy houses and even man caves and gin palaces.
“This milk hut is no different and the petition and number of letters received says it all about what way the wind is turning.
“Listen to the voice of the people.”
Unanimously backing the application, members did agree to discuss conditions meaning that permission would only be in place for as long as Mr Jones owned and operated the site, and would not remain in place in perpetuity.
Others would include controls over the nature of the items sold at the site and ensure they maintained the ethos of a farm shop.
Speaking last month Mr Jones, a father of two who runs the business with his wife, Mari said they’d decided to build the structure without planning permission due to feeling it imperitive that the business was up and running in time for the busier summer season.
He added: “Establishing a shop in Cemaes would not have been feasible, parking spaces are hard to find in winter but impossible in the summer.
“The feedback has been consistently positive, with customers saying that buying direct from the farm was part of the experience.”
Local resident Katie Hayward, who set up the petition supporting the business, told North Wales Live in October: “The couple who set up the venture have worked so hard to provide a good service for local people.
“(The recommendation to refuse) is infuriating because the business ticks all the right boxes – the bottles are reusable, cutting down on plastic waste, and the milk has low food mileage, coming from cows just two fields away.”