Petition calling on Senedd to ‘intervene’ in development of holiday resort on nature reserve hits 10,000 mark
A petition calling on the Senedd to “intervene” in the proposed development of a 500-chalet holiday village on an Anglesey nature reserve has passed 10,000 signatures.
After reaching the milestone, the Senedd’s Petitions Committee will now consider holding a debate on the future of the Penrhos Coastal Park in Holyhead.
The developers behind plans for the resort, Cumbria-based Land & Lakes, secured full planning permission from Isle of Anglesey County Council to build what the company refers to as a ‘world-class leisure village’ on the 200-acre park at Penrhos, Holyhead in 2016.
In January this year the legal team representing the campaign against the proposals, Save Penrhos Coastal Park, sent Anglesey Council planners a solicitor’s letter which claimed Land & Lakes planning permission was no longer valid because they hadn’t made a “material start” on the development.
The council believes a start has been made and that therefore the planning permission granted is now in perpetuity.
Independent Councillor Jeff Evans, one of two county councillors whose ward includes Penrhos, told Nation.Cymru that he believes the battle for the future of the nature reserve – listed an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) back in 1967 – will eventually be decided in court.
Mr Evans, who represents Holyhead Town on Cyngor Ynys Môn and also sits on the Planning Committee, said: “This is an awkward conversation – I’m representing people who are for and against and I have to keep an independent view on it because I sit on planning.
“I’m sorry if that sounds evasive but it’s an awkward situation this one. It is my personal view that it will be the courts inevitably which will determine the future of this park.
“What I will say is that Hilary (Paterson-Jones who fronts the campaign to save the park) has a good reputation for what she’s doing. I went down to the park a couple of days ago and it’s lovely down there and there are people who love it.”
‘Sprang into action’
Mrs Paterson-Jones confirmed that Save Penrhos Coastal Park didn’t know at first that a member of the public had started the online petition.
She added that once Madison Lorraine, who organised it, messaged campaigners to inform them that it had been signed by 300 people, they “sprang into action”.
“We hadn’t seen the petition, so we put it on our (Facebook) page and started pushing it like crazy and we did really well – within days we had over 10,000 signatures. People are signing from all over the place who know and love Penrhos. We also have the support of Carolyn Thomas MS who represents North Wales in the Senedd and Rhun ap Iorwerth MS for Ynys Môn.”
Mrs Paterson-Jones described the battle to save the nature reserve – parts of which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – as “a massive talking point” adding that financial contributions to pay the groups legal team are “coming in hard and fast”.
“We’ve taken a record £3,176 in one week in our charity shop in Holyhead – everything is donated and costs £1. The support we’re getting is massive – I’ve seen nothing like it.”
The next stage in the battle to save Penrhos, and its 27 acres of ancient woodland – parts of which date back to the 1700s and is home to red squirrels, bats, badgers and foxes – depends on Anglesey Council planners, Mrs Paterson-Jones explained.
“We are now waiting for the council to post notice that they are finalising everything and that Land & Lakes can build now in 20 months or in 20 years – it doesn’t matter, their planning now is live forever and that’s bloody ridiculous. So, as soon as the council posts notice we have six weeks to make our move.”
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