Retrospective planning permission refused for ‘blot on the landscape’ holiday lets
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A man who has let out ‘luxury’ chalets with hot tubs overlooking the Loughor Estuary for the last 12 month, has been refused retrospective planning permission for them.
John Phillips said he began to rent the four chalets in Landimore, Gower, to tourists from July last year and said bookings for the business – Gower Coast Cabins – have been pretty much “flat out”.
The chalets comprise a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, pull-out sofa bed for children, balcony and hot tub. They are close to the Wales Coast Path and come with a parking space. They are advertised on the business’s website for £175 or £185 per night and feature on visitor accommodation website booking.com, with a four-night stay in October for two adults costing £972.
Mr Phillips built the chalets on land he said came with the house he bought in Landimore in 2021. He said he had been under the assumption that they did not require approval under building regulations as they conformed to the relevant size criteria, and that he had liaised with Swansea Council planning officers. He said he was advised they might need change of use consent if let out to tourists.
Mr Phillips submitted a planning application to the council last July to retain and complete the chalets. The application argued that they would attract visitors to the area all year round and boost the economy.
The part of north Gower in question, it said, had limited tourism accommodation.
The application also argued 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 are located was acceptable.
Mr Phillips’s application led to 12 objections, including from the National Trust, on the grounds of increased noise from holiday-makers, more traffic and visual intrusion, among other things. One of the objectors described them as a “blot on the landscape” while another said they should be demolished and the area replanted.
There were also two letters or support, which said the chalets were the type of high-class tourist accommodation Gower needed.
In a lengthy report the council’s planning department turned down the application, saying the chalets were intrusive development in open countryside which detracted from the Landimore Conservation Area and Gower AONB.
Officers also said the road leading to the chalets was too narrow, leading to potential pedestrian safety issues. They said Mr Phillips had not provided flood consequence and ecological reports, and that the chalets’ close proximity to trees at the rear had adversely impacted their roots.
Their report added that the “need and demand for the holiday chalets in this sensitive countryside location has not been justified”.
Mr Phillips said he was minded to appeal the refusal decision. “We don’t understand what the big problem is,” he said. “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.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.