PEMBROKESHIRE councillors have backed plans for holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite them being recommended for refusal on multiple occasions.
Plans to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, were backed at two meetings of Pembrokeshire County Council planning committee, despite them being recommended for refusal.
The application was backed for a second time at the committee’s May meeting, after a ‘minded to approve’ decision at the previous meeting.
The decision, a departure from the adopted Local Development Plan, meant the application would need to be referred to full council for a final decision.
Officers have repeatedly recommended Messrs L & C Williams’ application – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.
The application was then considered at the July 13 meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, with a recommendation that the council did not endorse the resolution of the planning committee.
“The reasons advanced by the planning committee in support of the proposal do not outweigh the Development Plan policies which direct that planning permission should not be granted,” a report for members said.
It added: “Attaching significant weight to the limited benefits of the proposed development scheme would therefore set an undesirable precedent, undermine consistency in decision making and would make it difficult for the council to resist similar development proposals on sites that fall outside defined settlement boundaries in the open countryside.”
Planning committee chairman Cllr Jacob Williams moved the application be supported on the grounds put forward by his committee.
Local member, Cllr Delme Harris told councillors: “We should consider it on its own merits, it’s not about precedent but about supporting this planning application.”
He added: “I would like to ask that you all support this planning proposal, the impact on the countryside is minimal; let’s support our elected members who supported this.”
However, several members raised their concerns about going against planning policy, Cllr Alistair Cameron expressing his concerns about building in open countryside.
Councillor Reg Owens backed the plans, saying it was “a vote of confidence to the planning committee,” adding: “This is why we’ve got a planning committee; democracy has to be seen to be working.”
The application was conditionally approved by 48 votes to eight, with one abstention.