A Penally Councillor has called for support from a Welsh minister in challenging the Home Office on the Penally camp.

In an open letter to Julie James, minister for housing and local government, Cllr Jonathan Preston called on the Welsh Government to challenge "this affront to democracy".

He said: "Many of those who are directly affected have worked all their lives to be able to enjoy a peaceful retirement in Penally, Pembrokeshire.

"To have this busy facility which is attracting national attention literally sharing a border with their homes and gardens is outrageous by anybody's standards."

In his letter, Cllr Preston said the Home Office (HO) had acknowledged that a change of use is needed and "therefore, planning consent is required with six-month emergency permitted development rights".

Cllr Preston said: "Due to there being a change of use, an assessment of the proposal against planning policy would be required, with an exception for any permitted development rights that may apply once the change of use occurs. As planning is devolved to Welsh government, I would like full clarification of the following.

"Do you agree that the emergency powers under Part 37, Class A of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 apply in this case, and if so, what burden of proof would the HO need in supporting this as a genuine emergency as opposed to planned policy?

"I have written to PCC head of planning and suggested that a Planning Contravention Notice be considered for serving on the developer and Secretary of State seeking answers to questions to justify the state of emergency."

The notice are a tool used by Local Planning Authorities to gain information about any operations or activities on the land; and can be used to invite constructive response about how any suspected breach of planning control may be fixed.

Cllr Preston added: "The written information given to date does not (in my opinion) discharge the burden of proof.

"The HO claim this action is key to resolving coronavirus social distancing guidelines, however the accommodation may not adequately support effective social distancing as suggested in a recent report in the Sunday Observer which included photographs of the site.

"If an emergency situation is declared then the change of use at the site should show robust evidence of resolving that emergency.

"If these actions are not challenged then there is a possibility that the HO may not even pursue local authority approval. Therefore it remains imperative that a planning application is submitted. Then if the emergency designation is accepted, I understand that PCC could issue an enforcement notice if consent is not in place after six months."