By Bruce Sinclair
PEMBROKESHIRE councillors are to inspect a proposal to build holiday chalets at a trout fishery, despite planning officers recommending the plans be turned down.
An application to provide nine accommodation cabins and ancillary works at a former fishery business at Millbrook, Manorwen, Fishguard, was recommended for refusal when it came before county planners on March 14.
Officers had recommended the application by Messrs L & C Williams be refused on the grounds it would have an unacceptable adverse impact on the character and appearance of the countryside.
The application – diversification of an existing agricultural holding and trout fishery business – was a resubmission of a similar scheme withdrawn from the November meeting of the planning committee, which had also been recommended for refusal.
A report for planners said commercial farming at the site ended in 1998, but that use of the pond as a recreational trout fishery, which commenced in 1994, had continued to date.
However, it added there is no ready evidence of recent use for recreational fishery on-site.
Local councillor Delme Harris said the site was “on the outskirts of Fishguard,” rather than being a development in the open countryside.
In a plea to members, Cllr Harris said the application was “an opportunity to bring people into the north of the county,” adding: “Let’s support a family who want to invest in the Bro Gwaun ward.”
Cllr Harris told members the only local objections raised had been over an unrelated access point on the land.
Councillor Brian Hall moved the committee take part in a site visit, adding it would answer a number of questions relating to the application.
He was supported by Cllr Jamie Adams, who said there was a need to work with developers pro-actively: “I don’t think it’s a responsibility of a planning authority to say ‘No,’ I think it’s an opportunity for a planning authority to work with applicants.”
He added: “As a rural member I’d like to ensure that members are aware that the countryside is a living, breathing space, not merely a museum where we put dead things on display. We need investment, we need people coming in.”
Councillor Nicola Gwyn, of nearby Goodwick, said: “I would be strongly supportive of planning permission. I really think we should be finding a way to support applications like this, finding a way to support local families trying to do things like this.”
Members agreed to a site visit, with the application to be considered at a later committee meeting.