PLANS to convert a disused garage into a restaurant and holiday lets have been approved for a second time, after it transpired locals did not know about the scheme.
The application in Fishguard’s Lower Town, submitted by Orwell Pine Co Ltd, for the restaurant/café and three apartments in Fishguard’s Lower Town was recommended for – and given – conditional approval at the March meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee.
It was approved subject to the completion of a Section 106 legal agreement, and conditions including the implementation of flood mitigation measures.
Since then, some Lower Town residents have said they were denied a chance to comment on the plans, as they did not see planning notifications.
They have even said planning officers did not send out letters as they believed all neighbouring properties were holiday lets.
At the April meeting of the council’s planning committee, Chairman Cllr Jacob Williams told members the application would be revisited.
He expressed his concern at residents not being part of the consultation process, members hearing details of the application had been placed on an area not immediately visible to all.
The application, recommended for approval, was reconsidered at the May 23 committee, where it was unanimously approved.
A report for members said the officer report before the March meeting “did not infer that surrounding property was likely occupied as holiday lets and therefore less likely to be impacted upon by the proposal”.
The report added: “Furthermore, the officer report made clear this was a fresh application for a different proposal to include an A3 use at ground floor level, but that it is a material consideration that the site has the benefit of an extant permission which could be fully implemented.”
Planners heard four letters in support of the proposal – out of a total of eight – expressed frustration at the re-consideration, with one “considering it to make a mockery of the unanimous vote of the planning committee to approve this proposal in March”.
Eight letters of objection were also received, raising concerns including the application being out of keeping with the area, claimed misleading drawings of the height of the replacement building, and a potential overshadowing of neighbouring properties.
Agent Rob Howell expressed disappointment at the negative comments in objections, and said the claimed difference in heights was misleading.
Claire Evans, one of those neighbours who missed out on the previous consultation, raised concerns of flooding at the nearby car park to the committee.
She also questioned a need for further holiday lets in the area and raised concerns about the height of the application.
Councillor Brian Hall, who moved approval, pointed to a long string of 19 conditions connected with approval, adding: “I can’t think of any more even if it was a nuclear power station.”
He added: “Any improvement there would be a benefit to that area.”