Wedding tipi venue with woolly welcome from alpacas turned down by Pembrokeshire planners

A CALL to keep a wedding venue tipi where guests are greeted by alpacas has been turned down by Pembrokeshire planners.

Mr R Lloyd and Ms C Davies sought permission for the retention of a seasonal wedding events venue with the siting of a tipi and formation of ancillary parking area on land next to Redberth Gardens, Redberth, near Tenby.

Members of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee, meeting on April 23, were recommended to refuse the retrospective application for the ‘Serenity Garden’ tipi venue, erected in August 2023.

Serenity Garden, on its website, says the tipi offers a “very special wedding venue, set in the heart of the Pembrokeshire countryside,” with “friendly resident alpacas, teddy bear sheep, goats, ducks and Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs” greeting guests.

A planning statement supporting the application says it is anticipated that there would be approximately 15 wedding events during the season.

Concerns about the application have been raised by nearby St Florence Community Council, along with seven objections from the public, on issues including the potential impact on local residents, no site notice, added traffic, no local benefits, security concerns, and claims that bookings and deposits are already being taken for events.

A report for planners said: “Whilst the tipi is described as a temporary structure, it would have a level of permanence in that it would be erected in early April and remain on site until the end of October to minimise the effort of dismantling it after each planned event.”

It concludes: “The proposal represents an unjustified form of development in a countryside location. In addition, the application fails to include sufficient information to demonstrate that the suitable drainage infrastructure can be incorporated into the site, that noise levels would not have a detrimental impact on local amenity and that biodiversity would be protected and enhanced.”

Speaking at the April meeting, Agent Richard Banks said the tipi was not a permanent structure and there were no permanent homes near the site, those nearby being holiday cottages.

Referring to the retrospective nature of the application, he said the applicants were “guilty of being confused by permitted development rights” of 14 days, the intent to have 14 weddings, the application correcting that misinterpretation.

Objector Matt Sutton said the leaseholders of the holiday lets’ quiet enjoyment of their properties would be “significantly affected,” with fears music and corporate events would be held at the site.

He described the application as “riding roughshod over neighbours’ rights”.

Cllr Rhys Jordan, who later stressed the committee was “not anti-business,” moved the scheme be rejected.

Cllr Jordan stressed the need for applicants to work with planners.

“This committee is not anti-business, it’s a shame we’re in a position here where we could be having to refuse an application.

“Engage with us; that’s going to cost greatly to the applicant, this committee certainly isn’t anti-business and anti-growth.”

The application was refused by 13 votes, with one abstention.

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