Posted: Fri 26th Apr 2024

Councillors approve plans for holiday lodges near Welshpool amid access concerns /

COUNCILLORS have approved plans for three holiday lodges at a village near Welshpool, but concerns continue over access to the site.
At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, April 25 councillors debated plans by the Walton family for the lodges to be built on land next to Poplar drive in Leighton.
Welsh Government planning inspectors had been asked in January to “call in” the application and take over the decision making process.
Last week they decided “not to intervene” with the application.
A previous application for lodges at the site had been refused just under a year ago, due to highway safety reasons.
Objector Simon Newby-Wootton told the committee that he represented a group of 15 residents all of whom: “border or are impacted directly by the proposal.”
Mr Newby-Wootton said that there were “inconsistencies” with the application and that the access to the site still “transgresses” part of a restricted byway without “clear evidence of right” to use it.
Planning agent, Gerallt Davies of Roger Parry and Partners said that this has been a four year project for the Walton family.
Mr Davies said: “We addressed the highways point in our resubmission by showing provision of two passing bays which will not only improve the road for this project but for residents of Poplar drive.
“The objectors have questioned the local planning authority’s dealing of the application and has asked the Welsh Government to intervene.
“They (Welsh Government) have confirmed that due process has been followed.”
Planning officer Richard Edwards at the end of his presentation told councillors that he recommended approving the scheme.
Discussion by the committee focussed on the access to the site.
Cllr Claire Hall asked if it was correct to say that Poplar drive: “is not an adopted highway.”
Mr Edwards confirmed it was not adopted.
Cllr Hall asked if this meant it the access to the site was not owned by the applicant.
Mr Edwards believed the family would have a “right of access” to their land through Poplar drive.
“Have the served notice on the owner of what they are proposing,” asked Cllr Hall.
Mr Edwards said that this is outside the planning remit and is a “civil matter” that the applicant would need to deal with.
Cllr Hall said: “This is the preferred means of access but given they don’t own the access they can’t control that.
“You haven’t got a condition preventing access from another route.”
Cllr Hall wanted to see a condition added to the planning permission for access to the development to be only from Poplar drive.
This is because if access came in from another route it could disturb a nearby bat roost.
Cllr Gareth E Jones said: “There is potential then that the development could be approved and constructed and then they can’t actually access it.”
Highways officer Steve Jones said: “Our concerns and comments are all related to the adopted highways network when it gets beyond that point, we don’t have jurisdiction.”
Planning professional lead officer, Peter Morris said: “I’ve just done a land registry check and my understanding is the applicant owns a section of northern Poplar drive.”
He added that the council could not put a condition on the access as it was beyond their powers, but they could “encourage” the applicant to do this.
Cllr Gareth E Jones put forward the application to a vote which was seconded by Cllr Adrian Jones.
The committee unanimously supported the application. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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