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MP and Senedd Member call on Supreme Court to quash historic Snowdonia housing application

28 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Left, Mabon ap Gwynfor. Supreme Court photo by David Iliff. License: CC BY-SA 3.0.

An MP and Senedd Member have called on the Supreme Court to quash a historic application to build over 400 houses in Snowdonia.

The Supreme Court will decide in the landmark case which has pitted Snowdonia National Park against a housing developer next week.

Hillside Parks Ltd is appealing to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal decided in Snowdonia National Park’s favour in 2020.

The details of the case go all the way back to 1967 when then Merioneth County Council granted planning permission for the development of 401 houses on a site in Snowdonia National Park in Aberdyfi.

In 2019, Hillside Parks Ltd, which now owned the Site, brought a claim against the National Park Authority in order to ascertain whether the scheme of development authorised in 1967 could still lawfully be completed.

But MP Liz Saville Roberts and Senedd Member Mabon ap Gwynfor said there was “absolutely no demand for 400 executive homes in Aberdyfi” and that the application would “simply line the pockets of greedy developers”.

“This proposed overdevelopment would bring no benefit to the local community, in fact, it would detrimentally change the character of the village for good,” they said.

“Apart from the obvious negative impact on community life — local services such as schools, GP surgeries and the transport network are completely insufficient to accommodate such an unsuitable development. The infrastructure of Aberdyfi simply could not cope if this excessive number of new houses was permitted.

“Neither the water supply nor the sewage system is sufficient, and the road network would be overwhelmed by both construction and extra traffic.

“What we need in Aberdyfi and elsewhere in Meirionnydd is social housing to meet the specific needs of our local communities. There is nothing in this application that would suggest that this development would improve the lives of our constituents.

“We support the local community in their opposition to this proposal and hope the Supreme Court quashes this wholly unsuitable planning application.”

‘Troubling’

The case concerns a site comprising 28.89 acres of land at Balkan Hill, Aberdyfi, and will be heard by Lord Reed, Lord Briggs, Lord Sales, Lord Leggatt, Lady Rose.

The National Park Authority successfully argued in the High Court and Court of Appeal that the developers could not lawfully be completed.

They argued that permissions granted after 1967 were inconsistent with the original plan. In particular, roads had been built in areas designated for houses, and houses had been built in areas designated for roads.

The High Court and the Court of Appeal decided in the National Park Authority’s favour, but Hillside is now appealing to the Supreme Court in the hearing which is due to start next Monday, on July 4.

Their judgement could have a far-reaching impact as it raises the issue of whether developers nullify the original planning permission if they make subsequent tweaks with other planning applications.

Cornerstone Barristers, a leading London chambers which specialises in planning and housing, told the Telegraph newspaper that the case raises “troubling questions” when dealing with developments involving hundreds of houses, such as “whether a relatively minor deviation in one house should render every other house unlawful”.

If the Supreme Court decides in the National Park Authority’s favour, it would set a legal precedent for other courts below the Supreme Court which would mean that developers who use additional planning applications could risk invalidating the original plan.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
4 months ago

IF and I repeat IF it is the case, and I’m just taking this only from the above article, that this is a development of ‘400 executive homes’, who in the local area can possibly afford to buy them? Apart from decimating a part of one of our precious national parks (where else would this be allowed?) this is clearly an attempt to move hundreds of wealthy Tory/Unionist voters into Wales to scupper our freedom at the ballot box. The type and volume of these properties makes this clear and is a huge spit in the face of our local… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

The development is obviously aimed at a market created by the upcoming opening of the Aberdyfi ( or maybe Machynlleth) Stock Exchange and the new financial services complex rumored to be earmarked for Abergynolwyn !

Remember you read it here first !

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
4 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The world has changed in case you had not noticed and a stock broker or other finanicial services person can quite easily work online whilst sat in Aberdyfi.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago

You are a boring old f*rt ! My comment is not in the least bit serious. Don’t try educating me or anyone else on here about remote working. Some of us have done it for years, long before Covid forced it on many workers. Nevertheless the development, if permitted, will only be within the financial reach of the spivs and shysters who inhabit the financial sector.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
4 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

You have a very low opinion of the people of Wales- im sure a lot of people who are certainly not “spivs and Shysters” could afford to buy one of these houses

Ann
Ann
4 months ago

I thought that planning permission lapsed if the development did not begin within 5 years of the original application unless the applicant requested a renewal of the permission due to circumstances preventing work. To try to revive a 45 years old decision is ludicrous!

defaid
defaid
4 months ago
Reply to  Ann

55

Or 52 in 2019 when Hillside Parks brought the claim.

Over half a century either way. Puts me in mind of shooting people with a bow on the Long Mynd.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago

What was the original rationale in 1967 for such a large number of houses to be built?

Kathy Gale
Kathy Gale
4 months ago

The streets that would bear the brunt of the additional traffic from 500 extra homes, which would almost double the number of houses in the village, are tiny and twisting. (I have pics but can’t seem to post them here.) Subsidence has been caused by very small building works in roads in the area. I sincerely hope the Supreme Court judges understand the nature of the infrastructure of this tiny village and can take it into account in their judgement. To give this development the go-ahead would be utter madness.

Kathy Gale
Kathy Gale
4 months ago
Reply to  Kathy Gale

Sorry 401 houses.

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