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Landowner told to demolish four luxury holiday cabins built without planning permission

04 Dec 2023 3 minute read
View of the four chalets in Landimore, Gower, which have had planning permission refused retrospectively (pic courtesy of John Phillips

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

A landowner has been told to demolish four luxury holiday cabins, along with their hot tubs.

Swansea Council issued the enforcement notice because it said the cabins overlooking the Loughor Estuary were built without planning permission and had a seriously detrimental impact on the landscape and coastline.

An appeal against the notice has been submitted before it was due to take effect on December 11.

Council officers took enforcement action on eight grounds, including the absence of flood and ecology reports, and potential damage to the roots of trees at the rear of the cabins. The notice also said the development relied on the use of cars because there was poor public transport alternatives, and that increased car usage on what was a narrow access road had a negative impact on highway and pedestrian safety.

Reinstate the land

The notice required John Phillips to remove all traces of the cabins, including the septic tank serving them, and reinstate the land to what it was previously. It was issued four months after the authority refused retrospective planning permission for the scheme.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service tried to contact Mr Phillips but he didn’t respond at the time of publication, but the Welsh Government said the planning inspectorate – now called Planning and Environment Decisions Wales – had received on appeal.

Previously Mr Phillips said he had been under the assumption that the structures did not require approval as they were within a certain size, and that he had liaised with Swansea Council planning officers.

He built the cabins on land which came with the house he’d bought in 2021, and began renting them out from July 2022. That same month he submitted a planning application to the council to retain them.

Boost the economy

The application argued that they would attract visitors to the area all year round and boost the economy,
that landscape and visual impacts were minor and that new greenery could mitigate these. It contended that the overall impact on the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Landimore Conservation Area in which they were located was acceptable.

There were 12 letters of objection to the application, and two in support. Council planning officers turned it down, saying the cabins were intrusive development in open countryside.

Mr Phillips said at the time: “There’s a massive need for rental accommodation down here, and it provides jobs. The local pubs, restaurants and takeaways must have seen an increase in business.”

He added: “Building them, it was such an exciting time. It felt like it was a great achievement. Everyone that passed used to tell me how good they looked. It was just about making a living really, that was the main thing. The main goal for this was to provide for me and my family. We’ve had tonnes of visitors here, they absolutely love it.”

The cabins have a kitchen, bathroom, balcony and various mod cons, can sleep two adults and two children on a double bed and sofa bed, and cost £175, £185 or £200 per night to rent.

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Linda Jones
Linda Jones
7 months ago

Fair enough, planning rules should be followed particularly where the development has a detrimental environmental impact.
I am not sure how this development creates jobs. Where are the workers going to live in a Welsh holiday hot spot where there is little permanent housing

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
7 months ago

Fair enough, everyone else has to follow the planning rules so why should landowners be the exception. This is an environmental need

7 months ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Agreed. Retrospective planning permission is the way people with resources get to do things most people cannot. It’s the done thing for many developers and makes a mockery of the planning process. If someone has a small oversight fine but many builders) developers ignore the original permission.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
7 months ago

He lives on Gower, an AONB. Surely he cannot be that dumb to think he could just build on an AONB. He was lucky the Gower Society didn’t notice it first. They have a history in sniffing out this sort of thing. They’ve been known to go up in small aeroplanes to find stuff. Also Mr Phillips said at the time: “There’s a massive need for rental accommodation down here, and it provides jobs. The local pubs, restaurants and takeaways must have seen an increase in business.” There are no pubs, restaurant and takeaways in Landimore. It is a very… Read more »

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