Failed call-in attempt by National Trust scuppers plans to turn public toilets into takeaway ice cream parlour

A SCHEME to turn surplus public toilets to a takeaway ice cream parlour/coffee bar will not be decided by the Welsh Government, after a failed call-in attempt by the National Trust.

At the June meeting of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park’s planning committee, members went against officer recommendations by narrowly backing the Newgale scheme.

The application, by Mike Harris, included a beach-themed small retail unit and a small rear extension for a kitchen at closed public toilets next to Newgale Campsite.

It also offered a new seasonal public disabled toilet to be provided by the applicant.

As the plan was a departure from officer recommendations, planners could only be ‘minded to’ approve at the June meeting, meaning it would be heard again at a future planning committee for final ratification.

It was expected the application would return to the July meeting, but national park planners heard the scheme had been subject to a potential ‘call-in’ to the Welsh Government after a request from a ‘third party,’ later revealed to be the National Trust, following a Freedom of Information request by the applicant.

‘Call-ins’ are usually only considered for far larger developments, and mean the plans may be determined by Welsh Government ministers or return to the national park planning committee for a final decision.

However, the Planning directorate – while conceding the proposal did raise policy issues, regarding development areas at risk of flooding – said it did not feel the application should be called in.

“Given the scale and nature of the proposed development I am content that the effects of the development do not extend beyond the local area.

“The scheme would not affect sites of scientific, nature conservation or historic interest, or areas of landscape importance. The application does not raise novel planning issues or issue of national security and no other relevant issues are raised.”

A National Trust Cymru spokesperson said: ” National Trust Cymru made a call-in request to the Planning Division at Welsh Government relating to the Planning Consultation Application at Newgale Camping Site submitted to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

“We believed that the application related to planning issues of more than local importance; the issue of flood risk and development within an area subject to coastal realignment required wider deliberation and consideration and should be determined by Welsh Ministers.

“The request was made in a wider context of a changing climate and the Newgale Coastal Adaptation Project. Led by Pembrokeshire County Council the project aims to deal with the long-term challenges of a changing coastline, working with natural processes and applying the best use of coastal climate adaptation legislation, policies and strategy in Wales.”

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park has been contacted for a response.

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