Planning committee member who broke planning rules ‘should have known better’
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
A planning committee member who installed hardstanding and transformed one of his fields into a car boot sale site without permission “should have known better,” a fellow councillor has claimed.
Meeting on Wednesday, Anglesey Council’s planning committee refused a retrospective application by Cllr Eric Wyn Jones to retain work already carried out on land he owns at Cae Prytherch on the outskirts of Llanfairpwll.
The work, which prompted an Anglesey Council investigation in 2019, included the removal of topsoil and the placing of aggregate, widening road access and installing new gates.
Cllr Jones was elected as an independent councillor for the Bro Rhosyr ward in 2017, sitting within the Anibynnwyr Môn group.
After being served an enforcement notice to return the field to its previous state, he was given three months – later increased to six months upon appeal – to carry out the restoration.
But after submitting a retrospective application last year, Wednesday saw members turn down both the work carried out to the field as well as the highway amendments.
Speaking for the local community, Cllr Meirion Jones said he “derived no pleasure” from speaking out but believed that Cllr Eric Wyn Jones “should have known better.”
Cllr Meirion Jones, a Plaid Cymru councillor for Aethwy, told the meeting: “I’m not here to play politics but it’s with sadness and disappointment that I must refer to the conduct of a fellow member.”
Referring to the “lack of process” undertaken by Cllr Eric Wyn Jones, who himself sits on the planning committee, he added: “When I was elected as a councillor after the authority’s dark days, under the banner of restoring Anglesey’s good name, I was hoping we could go forward with a clean slate and that every councillors conduct would improve.
“To the public, however, this matter looks like a councillor trying to find favour by ignoring the planning process, a process the public themselves must follow.
“This is a councillor that should know better, having received relevant training.”
He also referred to the “strong objection” of the local community council, adding: “Approving this application would open the floodgates for every farmer to create a car boot sale. Its disgraceful.”
Cllr Eric Wyn Jones decided not to address members but was represented by his agents, Cadnant Planning.
In a video statement, Sioned Edwards said that the hardstanding was necessary as the field had a tendency to get wet, noting the popularity of the car boot sale.
“The intention of the applicant was to diversity, allowing the offering of a car boot sale in a sustainable location on the outskirts of Llanfairpwll by making a better use of the site.”
She added that it had resulted in business rates of £6,000 a year being paid since 2019, with the site also used for agricultural storage.
Addressing concerns over a lack of screening, it was claimed that further work would be offered to help mitigate such objections, also stressing that the site bordered on Llanfairpwll’s development boundary.
Officers had recommended the refusal of the engineering works already undertaken to create a hard surface instead of the previous agricultural land.
However, they had also recommended approval for the alterations already made to the vehicle access arrangements, which were said to be “reasonable and comply with local and national planning policies.”
But following a proposal by Cllr Robin Williams, who described the new gate as “industrial” and “unsuitable for the locality,” members also refused the site access aspect.
As this portion of the recommendation went against the views of planning officers, however, it was confirmed that this aspect will be reconsidered during the next planning committee meeting following a month’s cooling off period.