Holiday chalet development rejected amid fears over safety of red squirrel population and habitat loss

A Llangefni holiday chalet development was rejected amid fears over red squirrels and habitat loss.

Planners considered a full application for change of use of agricultural land to site 32 holiday lodges at Lon Penmynydd during a meeting on Wednesday, March 1.

The proposal received by Anglesey County Council concerned the Dafarn Newydd area.

It would see the building of a reception, construction of vehicular access, site roads, parking areas and associated works on adjacent land.

The plans were submitted by James France-Hayhurst, Anglesey Lodge and Caravan Park Limited through agents Jamie Bradshaw, Owen Devenport Ltd.

The matter had been deferred for a site visit following 36 public objections Llangefni Town Council opposition.

The matter was called back to the committee by local members.

Richard Hughes, a member of the public speaking for those against, said the plans did “not fit the area”, the land was “not fit for purpose” was “prone to flooding”, and the ecological survey gave “no mention to red squirrels”.

He refuted a traffic survey claiming there were no accidents and had “seen three and two near misses in the past 18 months”.

Ancient woodland and hedgerow loss had had a “significant impact on wildlife,” he said.

He said: “Owls are no longer present, bats and red squirrel habitats significantly reduced.

“This on a road which proudly states ‘Red Squirrel Habitat’.”

Speaking for the Canolbarth councillors and objectors, Cllr Dylan Rees said the landscape and visual assessment report described ecology of the wider area – not the immediate area of development.

It referenced “a local nature reserve, The Dingle, noting frogs, newts adders, lizards and birds” but Cllr Rees said it “omitted any mention of red squirrels”.

“I question whether the author of this report has ever been to The Dingle,” he said.

“Anyone who goes there knows there are information boards highlighting a red squirrel population.

“There’s no mention of red squirrels in the landscape and visual assessment report.

“What residents of Lon Penmynydd will tell you is they’re often seen in the area of this application.”

Cllr Rees had contacted red squirrel expert Dr Craig Shuttleworth, and added: “He emailed me, saying ‘red squirrels were missed off the public survey prior to the Llangefni by-pass, it’s not on that developers continue to ignore the issue’.”

Dr Shuttleworth had highlighted destruction of red squirrel habitats, which could be considered an offence.

“They are a priority species which should be safeguarded,” Cllr Rees said.

He was “extremely disappointed” National Resources Wales had “not seen fit” to consider the matter.

The ecological statement was “flawed” and failed to meet policy, which he said was a “sufficient reason to reject” the proposal.

Speaking in favour, Jamie Bradshaw said residents’ “noise and disturbance” concerns were unfounded, adding that the development was 189m from the nearest property.

The road and entrance were “satisfactory”, drainage would be “properly carried out” and ecological surveys had “not found any protected species”.

Any minor impact would be mitigated with planting, he said. He noted the scheme was supported by planning officers.

Local members also added their views, with Councillor Geraint Bebb saying there had been a number of “valid concerns” from Llangefni people, adding: “Hardly anyone is in favour of the application.”

Cllr Nicola Roberts added: “People do feel against the plan and think it is inappropriate.”

Councillor Paul Ellis agreed, and had concerns over the “busy road”.

Six members voted to refuse the application. It will be deferred to the next meeting so officers can respond.

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