Grandmother’s bungalow plan approved after ‘help keep Welsh language alive’ plea
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A Llanberis grandmother will be allowed to build a bungalow described by planners as “oppressive and intrusive” at the centre of the village.
It was granted amid pleas to help keep a Welsh-speaking family living in the area and assurances it would not be used as a holiday let.
Gwynedd planners went against officers’ recommendations to allow the development on Ffordd Capel Coch after hearing it was the “only way” a local woman could afford to continue living in the village.
Elaine Price told a planning meeting on Monday that she needed the house for herself and her son, and that it would not be sold or used as an Air BnB.
The proposals included widening existing access and providing two parking spaces.
Officers turned down plans for the two-bedroom build in the rear garden of Y Berllan in January over flooding concerns later reported as “unlikely”.
An amended full application was resubmitted but environment officers again recommended rejection.
A new house of 5.9 m in height and 5m from the existing dwelling would be “obtrusive”, creating a “claustrophobic feeling”, they said.
The house’s “disposition and location” would create an “oppressive intrusion…harmful to the amenities of neighbours based on noise disturbance”, and it would have an “oppressive structure”, being “uncharacteristic” due to size, a report read.
The meeting heard the appellant and her family were from the village, and she was relied on for support, taking grandchildren to school.
Y Berllan, where she lived, was the home of her deceased parents but was to be sold.
She said via Zoom: “This is a plan for a small bungalow. There’s plenty of room at the front and back of Y Berllan, for three or four cars and turning area.
“It’s not an oppressive structure, as the council says. The plan is very similar to the bungalow already there.
“It will not cause noise disturbance, only one vehicle and two people will be living here.
“The location, at the bottom of Ffordd Capel Coch will not cause more noise or traffic. More is created by the five Air BnBs already on the street.
“The neighbours have not objected.
“I’ve done everything Mr Williams asked. It’s not possible for me to buy a house in Llanberis, or anywhere else due to house prices. I can build a small bungalow cheaper. My age is against me to get a mortgage.
“I hope you consider my application with regard to keeping the Welsh language alive and keeping local people in the village.”
Llanberis councillor Kim Jones supported the application, saying there was no objections from the community council or neighbours.
“When this property is sold, it is owned by Elaine and her brothers and sisters, Elaine wants to continue living in Llanberis,” she said.
“A new housing estate has been built in Llanberis, Trem Y Chwarel, but the houses are out of the reach of most residents here. The cheapest house in the village is £210,000.
“There’s little Welsh language left in Llanberis. We’re trying to grab hold of what is left, not push local residents out because of house prices.
“The Trem Y Chwarel has not contributed to the language. No-one local can afford to buy them.
“The design is not discordant and I can’t one believe one bungalow would make noise, when there are five Air BnBs in the the road.”
Cllr Griff Wiliams proposed going against the officers’ recommendations by approving the application. Cllr Louise Hughes seconded.
Cllr Gareth Parry added: “We should try and keep local people living in the area.” Cllr Gareth Anthony Roberts was also in favour of Cllr Williams’ proposal.
Answering environment officer Gareth Jones’ concerns over the design and other policy issues, Cllr Williams added: “I think the design is acceptable, within the village boundary.
“There is real need for local housing and we would losing a family from the area. I couldn’t agree to that.”
A proposal to approve the application, contrary to the recommendation, went ahead, with nine in favour and three against.
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