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Portmeirion calls for more camper vans and a longer season

28 May 2023 3 minute read

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

The popularity of out of season short breaks has prompted the operators of a famous Italianate-style tourist village on the coast of north Wales to ask for more campervans to be allowed.

A planning proposal has been received by Cyngor Gwynedd for permission to raise the number of motorhomes allowed at Portmeirion from 23 to 28.

The application also requests extending the licence period for using its motorhome site.

It currently runs from March 1 to October 31, with new plans for it to end on December 31 and to re-start on February 1.

The plans, submitted in Welsh, state, this is “to match the operational business activities of the Portmeirion Cyf site”.

The application concerns an 8,520 square metre area at the historic venue.

The tourist honey pot was designed and built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis between 1925 and the 1970s.

Now owned by a charitable trust, the village, with its eccentric, colourful buildings and beautiful surroundings, is also well known as the home of the Festival No 6 and the film location of the cult 1960s TV show, The Prisoner.

Explaining why the change was necessary applicant Robin Llywelyn, managing director of Portmeirion Cyf, said in the application: “The period between November 1 and December 31 has increased in terms of popularity over the last few years.

“The half term for schools is found during the month of February and there is a demand for camping places at that time.

“We hold a food and craft festival on the first weekend of December every year, and there is a demand for camping places over that period.

“The attraction of Portmeirion village is busy over the Christmas period and we are keen to extend the period to match this.

“The whole site closes during January each year and we wouldn’t want to open the campsite during January.”

Short-term holidays

The change would only be for “short term” holidays, he said.

Justification for extending the licensing period was also given, and he referred to the topography of the travelling holiday site.

He said: “The thickness of trees meant it could not be seen from any private dwelling.”

It is “an isolated” site, and “linked” to the tourist attraction, the plans state.

The plans referenced Planning Policy Wales, which recognised countryside tourism as an “essential element” to provide “a healthy economy and diversity,” in rural areas.

Mr Llywelyn also noted that nature holidays were “increasingly diverse” in terms of season and that more people were choosing short breaks outside of summer months.

Planners noted the site was in the “special landscape” of Glaslyn and Dwyryd and the Aberglaslyn Registered Historic Landscape.

Associated land had been designated as within the Portmeirion Conservation Area and parallel to the south of the site was an “ancient grove” and land nearby was a wildlife site.

Council planners noted in terms of design, layout and appearance, the touring site was in an “inobtrusive location”.

The proposed development was of a “high quality” in an area where units could fit into the landscape.

Following further information, with plot numbers and measurements of vehicles the plots could fit, “it appeared the development was acceptable in terms of licensing”.

It was considered the proposal, in terms of scale and increase, and hidden nature of the site, was considered “essentially acceptable”.

As the the village of Portmeirion was a “unique attraction” with a specific operating period, extending the time period to coincide with the site’s holiday operating was considered was “not contentious.”

A final decision will be made at a later date.

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10 months ago

It doesn’t seen sensible to have any restriction on when the site can be used. As long as there is some form of charge which can include a visitor levy, any contribution to the visitor economy in winter should be welcomed.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
10 months ago
Reply to  Some1

Agreed. When we were still young enough to be able to use a campervan we loved going away when the schools were open and the world was not crowded. Winter camping can be very good but the problem is that so many places that could be open in winter are closed. So, yes, all power to their elbows at Porthmeirion.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

A secret and secure prison camp in Scotland for mad, bad and dangerous ex government members where they can live out their fantasies without being any further danger to the public. The inspiration for ‘The Prisoner’ and an ideal location for the current government’s early retirement scheme…

10 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Entirely agree forward all members of The Senedd , no one would notice the difference and the savings could be used for the benefit of Wales rather than working against Wales .

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago
Reply to  Pmb

Um, I was referring to the Fat Shanks/Sunak Gang in Westminster…my fault for not being specific…MD’s got his allotment…

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