Gower campsite owners win planning battle
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A camping and caravan site which generates nearly £1 million for the Gower economy can rearrange its layout but won’t have to build a new access lane, as objectors had hoped.
The owners of Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, which overlooks Three Cliffs Bay, submitted an application to Swansea Council to alter its layout and make other changes, without increasing the overall number of units.
Council planning officers said the proposal would provide a more simplistic planning framework for the site and make enforcement by the authority “much less onerous”.
There were 17 letters of objection, representations from Gower MS Rebecca Evans and MP Tonia Antoniazzi, and 195 letters of support.
Residents of North Hill Lane, which is used as the site’s entrance and exit, said they would reconsider their objection if the owners built a new access lane onto the main A4118. They wanted four more compromises, including the reinstatement of a footpath from the site to Three Cliffs Bay.
Other objectors said the traffic generated by Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park was compounding air pollution in nearby Parkmill, where the A4118 narrows, while others claimed there had been a lack of regard for planning control by the campsite’s owners over the years.
Council planning officers approved the application, subject to conditions and a legal agreement relating to numbers of tent, caravan and yurt pitches on different parts of the site.
Their report said: “The objections received from neighbouring residents set out a number of recommendations and compromises, however, these are matters to be resolved between the neighbours and the site owners.”
Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park manager Tom Beynon welcomed the approval.
“It’s nice to have that news before we open for the season,” he said.
“People are going to come to Gower anyway – it’s far better to manage that and work out ways of them not impacting on the area.”
He said the approval would allow the business to create a further three or four full-time equivalent posts, which would take the total number up to 20.
Yurts at Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park cost around £120 per night – and Mr Beynon said visitors had higher expectations of campsites than in the past.
“If campsites and caravan parks can move with the times a little, it creates more custom for local pubs and restaurants,” he said.
The planning officers’ report said the holiday park had planning permission for up to 23 touring caravans and 110 tents, and that part of the application was to alter 19 tented pitches to seasonal yurts.
The report cited a document which said the park contributed more than £940,000 to the local economy.
The approved changes will result in a section of the park becoming meadows. New hedgerows will also be planted.
Conservation group the Gower Society objected to the application, claiming that changes had taken place at the park without planning permission for 10 to 15 years.
It argued that the presence of yurts, camper vans and “sometimes hundreds of cars” was contrary to Gower planning policy.
The society, which provided aerial photos as part of its submission, said the park was well managed but that a more thoughtful landscaping plan was needed.
It said “significant concessions” should be mandated by the planning department, should it be minded to approve the application.
Mr Beynon said he felt the Gower Society and businesses in the Gower Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty had more common ground than it might appear.
“We want to keep Gower’s beauty, and for businesses to make a bit of money and employ people,” he said. “That’s the combination which has to be found.”
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