Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) / Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri are currently consulting on a planning document which is intended to support the recently published Local Development Plan (LDP). The planning document is a Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document covering Visitor Accommodation. It forms part of a suite of thirteen planning guidance documents designed to support applicants with their planning applications.
SPG documents are intended to provide further detail to policies contained within the LDP. SNPA specifically say that the guidance will be used in decision making and are material considerations. Legally they do not form part of the LDP as they are not subject to independent examination. If a proposal does not follow the guidance there is still the possibility that planning may be granted.
The consultation period is open until the 11th July 2019 and further information can be found on https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/planning/planning-policy/Supp-Planning-Guidance Written responses are requested for SNPA to consider prior to the guidance being finalised. The draft document has already been considered by the local councillors who sit on the SNPA planning committee.
Baileys and Partners have clients who are involved with a wide range of visitor accommodation sites from bed and breakfast properties, holiday cottages, holiday park chalets/caravans, camping sites, including businesses hiring out campervans. They all have a place in contributing to a prosperous rural economy.
Baileys and Partners would like the planning guidance to encourage the tourism and leisure industry within Snowdonia National Park. With major changes ahead for the agricultural industry and rural sector through changes to farming subsidies, it is vitally important that opportunities for alternative income generation are encouraged and supported.
For the newly introduced LDP, Development Policy 29: Alternative Holiday Accommodation, the concern is that the guidance is overly prescriptive. The guidance is targeted at farmers who are considering farm diversification and also existing leisure sites. It appears to be precluding the ability for structures to include facilities such as toilets connected to the mains. This seems to be at odds with encouraging a sustainable economy. It is arguable that services such as electric, water and sewerage can be designed and built with negligible impact on both landscape and ecology.
Baileys and Partners would encourage the SNPA to take a more flexible approach similar to that of the Peak District National Park. Baileys and Partners have a client in the Peak District who have successfully established a glamping development as farm diversification project. The development utilised self-contained units without the need for using existing buildings or new buildings for facilities such as toilets or showers.
Our expertise within the renewable energy and rural sectors compliment the support we can provide for planning proposals. Please do get in touch with Baileys and Partners if we can assist with your planning matters.