A PLANNING application which will see a host of new attractions and accommodation at Heatherton World of Activities has been given the green light.
The application, which has been years in the making, came before members of Pembrokeshire’s planning committee on February 4.
The proposal is for 33 high quality log cabins and sixteen yurts, together with a new body zorb, water warz, kids 4x4 Jeeps, off road Segway, hedge maze, nine hole zip wire course, BMX/mountain bike circuit, a dog agility course, and a range of environmental improvements.
The county council’s planning officers recommended that the application be refused as it is contrary to some planning policies, but the committee went against the advice and moved to approve it, with conditions to be decided at the next meeting.
Addressing the committee, County Councillor Phillip Kidney said: “Heatherton has been open for 20 years, closing for only three days of the year.
“It employs 40 full time staff and 116 staff in the summer. The proposal would add another 29 full time jobs.
“Due to the economic climate, if this application is not approved Heatherton could be forced to close during the winter months.”
Alison Belton, managing director of Outsource Me Limited and former chief executive of Pembrokeshire Tourism, said: “I don’t need to tell members around the table the importance of tourism to Pembrokeshire.
“Heatherton is a very unique attraction, as it has no entry fee. It draws 200,000 visitors annually. People come from the M4 corridor and there’s strong support locally.”
She added that the application was consistent with the Pembrokeshire Destination Management Plan.
Cllr Jacob Williams said: “I totally support this application and am disappointed that there’s been objection. I think it’s a major development that would give Heatherton a new lease of life.
“Heatherton has a proven track record, I have confidence its business case is sound, and we should be applauding them.”
Cllr David Pugh, cabinet member for tourism, economy and communities, said: “The report has been written in a negative way, where it is looking for reasons to refuse it.
“This application has been two years in preparation and I am absolutely convinced that approval is the right way forward.”
Speaking after the decision for approval, the director of Heatherton, Charles Davies said: “I would really like to thank the forward thinking of the council members in supporting our application and those that helped in its preparation.”