Denbighshire holiday park plans at former rugby club rejected
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Denbighshire’s planning committee voted in favour of refusing an application for 44 holiday lodges at Rhyl’s former rugby club – but the final decision lies with the Welsh Government.
Councillors voted 13-4 in favour of refusing the application, which also included plans to convert the former clubhouse to a reception area.
The proposed development included plans for a restaurant, cafe, shop and a cycle hire office at Rhyl Rugby Club’s former ground on Waen Road in Rhuddlan.
The planning application was originally set to be discussed in April this year but was called in for determination by the Welsh Government who sought a resolution from Denbighshire’s planning committee.
Cllr Christine Marston proposed the application was refused against planning officers’ recommendation to grant, which was seconded by Cllr Peter Scott. Cllr Marston said the development could sleep as many as 228 people but argued it was inappropriately placed in open countryside.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Marston said, “It is a very large scale and quite an urban proposition in open countryside, and I think that is what the main problem was. It was going against planning policy, not only Denbighshire’s planning policy but also Wales’ planning policy.
“The crux of the matter was the local development policy PSE12, which doesn’t permit static caravan sites in open countryside, and I know people will say ‘these are lodges’, but lodges fall into the same sort of criteria.”
“I’m pleased the committee rejected it. It would also be a development on agricultural 3A grade land. You shouldn’t develop on grade 3A a land. It’s a finite resource. It should be protected.”
She added: “The last reason for refusal is when you are developing a site like a holiday park, Welsh Government want you to support and enable active travel routes, so that means encouraging people to walk and using active transport.
“This was in a very rural area with footpaths. There were no ways people could get to the campsite without jumping into a car, and that is going against Welsh Government recommendations as well, so I think there were really good reasons why it was rejected, adhering not only to our own planning policy but Welsh Government planning policy.”
Speaking in favour of his planning application at the beginning of the meeting, William Ward of North Wales Construction Ltd commented: “This scheme is designed to be of the highest standard. This scheme would conservatively create more than 30 full-time positions once open, as well as creating lots of local jobs during the construction phase, from using local trades to supporting local suppliers.
“Bringing this scheme to committee has been a long and challenging process. It’s taken many people far more qualified than myself in many departments a lot of time and effort, and I hope the report will allay any concerns anyone may have had.”
He added: “For instance, our ecologists have developed an ecology plan for the site that will enhance the biodiversity and the ecology of the site.”
The final decision will be made by the Welsh Government’s planning inspectorate.