Car restrictions pose planning dilemma
6:20pm Sunday 14th October 2012 in County News
Questions have been raised over a national park planning policy that seems to rule out building market value homes in rural areas if people have to drive to them rather than use public transport.
A local planning expert fears the policy could favour holiday and affordable homes which do not have the same restrictions.
The issue came to light during discussions over a plan to build two bungalows, one affordable and one market value, in Moylegrove.
The market value home did not meet a policy that requires it to be accessible without reliance on a private car.
The plan had been recommended for refusal by planning officers, but was approved by members at the development management committee, who questioned the policy.
Cllr Tony Wilcox said: “Using this criteria we would never build anywhere.
Moylegrove has a far better bus service than Cosheston or Angle and other areas of the National Park. I fail to see how we can refuse it on this case.”
Cllr Bob Kilmister added that there was a sustainable bus service compared with many areas of Pembrokeshire.
Committee member Ted Sangster said “you would expect an owner of affordable housing to have less use of a car than the market value house” and be more reliant on public transport.
Members voted against the officers’ recommendation by eight to five, with one abstention.
Following the meeting, the applicant’s agent, Chris Kimpton, said: “The national park seemed hell bent on refusing on grounds of accessibility.
In effect it seems as if it’s going to permit more holiday homes in the area because of reduced accessibility criteria.”
A spokesman for Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said: “Sustaining rural communities is a key issue and the national park authority recognises the need to ensure that appropriate development takes place in the right place at the right time by making sufficient land available to provide homes and employment opportunities for local people, which helps to sustain rural services.
“Simultaneously, the authority must respond to the challenges posed by climate change, which is a difficult balance to strike.”