Plans for car park plan turned down by council
The owner of a thriving Gower holiday park is considering an appeal after being told he cannot use a field for car parking throughout the spring and summer.
Tom Beynon, the manager of Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park, said he would prefer to sit down with council officers and objectors the Gower Society before lodging an appeal.
“I think businesses, the Gower Society and the council need to work better together,” he said.
The Gower Society presented aerial photos of the field in question and used a barrister to set out its objection to Mr Beynon’s application which, if successful, would have enabled the field to be used every day for parking between April 1 and October 31, rather than the current 28 days.
Mr Beynon said he felt the Gower Society was “an important body” but that a balance needed to be struck.
“We all want to protect Gower, but we also need to create jobs,” he said.
“This is the battle we are facing. The area is desperate for money, to help keep the pubs going and so on.”
Mr Beynon said he worked with the council’s tourism team to encourage people to visit Gower — the UK’s first area of outstanding natural beauty — and that there was a demand for parking near Three Cliffs Bay.
He said parking on a field was preferable to an area covered by Tarmac, and disputed the Gower Society’s claim that hundreds of motorists would park there every day if his application had been approved.
“On an average day in the school holidays it’s 50 to 100 cars,” he said.
“We also let the RNLI lifeguards (who patrol Three Cliffs Bay) park there free, and give them coffee and water.”
Mr Beynon, of North Hill Farm, Penmaen, said the five-star holiday park employs 14 people, plus five family members.
“We also have sheep on 100 acres of land, but the farm is struggling to make a profit,” said the 34-year-old.
Referring to his certificate of lawful use application, Mr Beynon contended that the field been used continuously for car parking for 10 years, thereby meeting the test.
Council planning officers concluded otherwise. The decision letter refusing the application said: “Information obtained by and submitted to the council indicates that the site has not been continuously used as a seasonal car park during that period of time.”
Following the decision, the Gower Society said that Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park was a worthy recipient of various accolades but that there had been many changes which “have not gone down very well with the locals and ourselves”.
It added: “This exercise was both expensive and time-consuming but has been successful and we cannot think of a better way of using the income from legacies left to the society to protect Gower from what we consider to be unreasonable over-development.”
Mr Beynon said he wanted to find common ground, but that appealing the council’s decision was an option.