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We don’t want any more holiday lets – councillors say we are ‘over-run’

08 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Capel Jerusalem, Llangoed. Photo Dale Spridgeon

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

A ‘controversial plan’ by developers to create holiday accommodation in a former Welsh chapel has been refused after councillors claimed the area was already “over-run” with holiday lets, including AirBnBs.

Anglesey councillors also blasted proposed parking arrangements on the public highway in an already busy village area as “ludicrous.”

The proposal to convert the Jerusalem Chapel into three flats, with extensions and alterations at the centre of Llangoed was turned down by planners this week.

Over concentration

It followed objections over traffic and parking issues and concerns of” over concentration” of holiday lets in the area. The issues were raised by Seiriol ward members Cllr Carwyn Jones, Cllr Alun Roberts and Cllr Gary Pritchard.

A previous plan to turn the chapel into four holiday flats was rejected in November, 2022. The application was made by the Manchester based Baby Bird Development Ltd, run by Loretta and Anthony Hodari to Anglesey County Council.

In a re-submission, the developers had reduced the number of holiday units to three. Planning enforcement manager Stephen Owen stated a business plan had demonstrated a “viable” proposal and would help bring the vacant 19th century building back into use.

He noted that the number of second homes and self catering holiday accommodation in the Llangoed community council area was 15.36% – just “marginally” exceeding the 15% threshold.

The highways department had confirmed the parking proposed in three zones on the pubic highway were “acceptable.” The application was considered “acceptable,” and he recommended approval with conditions.

But, councillors hotly contested the application, arguing that by allowing more holiday accommodation above the threshold was “setting a dangerous precedent” and opening the floodgates to more applications.

The community council had been against the application, and the development had attracted 82 local objections, and one letter of support.

Unsuitable location

Among the issues raised were insufficient parking, dangerous road, blind bend, impact on neighbours, noise, general disturbance, no space in the village car park, an over provision of holiday accommodation, and unsuitable location for holiday accommodation.

A lone voice in support, felt “something has to be done with the building.”

In a letter, Cllr Alun Roberts said the application had been “controversial” attracting a lot of objections.

“Anyone, who lives or drives through the village will be aware of the lack of parking…It’s a nightmare to drive along this street at times, especially with larger vehicles, it will make things worse,” he said.

Proposed use of parking on the road was “not realistic” and did “not consider the rights of local residents who already found it hard to park.

“Also the number of holiday lets in the area is above the 15 percent threshold, 15.36 percent in Llangoed, If you permit this today this number will go up.

“We have to stick to our guns, or we could be setting a very dangerous precedent,” Cllr Roberts added.

Cllr Gary Pritchard, in a letter stated, the development was “totally unsuitable and would add to the parking and traffic problems”.

“The site is opposite the only shop in the village, which is extremely busy, there are no other suitable parking places…”

He felt the traffic assessment “did not reflect the reality of the situation” and he was also concerned about breaching the 15 percent threshold.

Cllr Carwyn Jones said: “This is a residential area, not some tourism area, people live here, on both sides of this chapel. There is over provision, the official figure is 15.36 percent, that does not include AirBnBs, if that was included it would mean nearly a quarter of properties were actually holiday lets.

“We don’t need any more holiday lets, Llangoed and Penmon is a residential area, not some holiday village.”

“What will happen in summer when the Anglesey population goes to over a quarter of a million a day. There’s no hope, we’ll have huge jet-skis, holiday makers, they don’t just land with one car, we see them in Beaumaris and everywhere, they have two cars.”

Cllr Jones said there were simply not enough parking spaces in the village to accommodate the new development: “It was dangerous during the site visit. A car nearly ran over someone’s foot. It was chaotic… it’s totally unsuitable in the middle of Llangoed.

Cllr Jackie Lewis also thought the parking there was “horrendous, at 11am in the morning” and felt it was “dangerous.”

Cllr Jeff Evans said it was a “between the devil and the deep blue sea application..

“If we turn it down, we are left with an ugly, old, derelict building which I would not want in front or adjacent to my house. Or do we opt for supporting three holiday units…which also brings problems?

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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
2 days ago

Why not make affordable or social housing out of it?

Rick Bull
Rick Bull
2 days ago

Are you going to pay for that? Public money would be better spent on more new builds for the same money that meet all current standards and are cheap to maintain. So this property will sit empty until someone puts their own cash into it. It’s ordinary family homes being used as holiday lets that needs to stop. Leaving a chapel derelict helps no-one.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 day ago
Reply to  Rick Bull

Chapels by their nature are simple buildings that are easy to sub-divide internally and do make a good basis for social housing. When it comes to how to fund social housing, it’s to be hoped that the increased take from the council tax on second homes will provide at least some of the funding. Also a big consideration is that the conversion of chapels into social housing would not lead to over-development, which is a real danger in areas where there is sufficient housing, but where a large percentage of it is squandered as either holiday lets or as second… Read more »

Rick Bull
Rick Bull
1 day ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

What about energy costs? Unless you sub-divide into well-insulated windowless boxes that hide all the charm of the building you’ll spend huge sums just heating the place. Chapels are not suited to affordable homes.

Keith Gogarth
Keith Gogarth
1 day ago

Good to see councillors stick to their guns and showing integrity

William Robson
William Robson
1 day ago

Councillors a rule unto themselves. Worst case here Anglesea councillors.
They are now discriminating. They set the rules now they realise the mess they have made they want to change the rules.
Hope they are not taxing this building while it is being sorted.
They seem quite happy to penalise people with no repercussions to themselves

Angel blessing
Angel blessing
22 hours ago

Finally they say No to more Holiday let’s I wish Carmarthen would have the same thinking 🤔 As I’ve 2 as direct neighbours an there absolute nightmare an 5 around my home that’s just a few I’ve actually lost count now I know a landlord with social housing whom turned most his rentals into Airbnbs The council isn’t interested in Carmarthen I’m guessing the councillors have them as second homes as they didn’t raise the double council tax either unlike other councils in Wales we absolutely now have too many holiday rentals in wales . What happened to caravan parks.… Read more »

Last edited 22 hours ago by Angel blessing

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