A Pembrokeshire caravan site owner who “honestly” admitted “dodging under the radar” by running his site without permission for some 20 years will not be allowed to continue doing do.

In an application before Pembrokeshire County Council’s April planning committee, Nicholas Kinahan sought retrospective permission to continue operating his caravan site with 19 touring pitches, along with caravan storage and the erection of a storage shed at Penrath Farm, Ryelands Lane, Kilgetty.

The long-running site operation, a kilometre from nearby Kilgetty, off the narrow Ryelands Lane, was discovered as part of an ongoing enforcement action.

The application was recommended for refusal on a long list of grounds including the site was in the open countryside, did not propose any community facility, was not supported by a Green Infrastructure Statement, no biodiversity enhancement features, the nearby road being a narrow single-track lane with no visibility splays for access, and concerns over foul waste disposal.

Kilgetty/Begelly Community Council has objected to the scheme on the basis of a lack of information provided within the application and access safety.

One third party representation was also received, raising concerns including a lack of information in respect of type of caravans and their use, no surface water or foul waste drainage details, a lack of an ecology survey, and no highway impact assessment.

Speaking at the meeting, farmer and caravan site owner Mr Kinahan said there were three caravans on-site after he moved to Kilgetty in 2004, housing tenants “on benefits,” with nine caravans on-site by 2010 and ‘vans from other sites stored on site later.

Western Telegraph: An application by Nicholas Kinahan to keep his caravan site of 20 years was heard by Pembrokeshire

“We’ve done wrong and we know we’ve done wrong,” he told councillors, adding: “I can’t afford to live there without this little bit of extra income.”

Speaking on behalf of neighbour Micheal Ormond of Ryelands Caravan Park and his concerns, Andrew Vaughan-Harries – a planning agent who normally represents applicants - said to the applicant: “When I look at this application, personally, I think you’ve tried to do the application yourself.

“We see many, many problems with this application, a septic tank is not acceptable in 2024, there are lots of issues; it’s unsustainable and has to fail.”

Councillor Mark Carter said: “What can I say really? I think we’re looking at a very honest man, unfortunately in this case he’s got it wrong; he’s had a 20-year run of dodging under the radar.

“We have to respect the law and the policy and be fair to every caravan site.”

Moving the application be turned down, he said: “Much as I admire the gentleman for his initiative, I have to go with the officer recommendation for refusal.”

Councillor Rhys Jordan thanked the applicant for his honesty, adding: “I don’t think he’s tried to ride roughshod over planning, I think he’s been naïve, but I can’t support this application.”

The application was unanimously refused by planners.

Members heard the saga of Kinahan’s caravans may not be ended with a planning refusal, the option of a potential certificate of lawfulness – if he could prove the development had been in place enforcement-free for a decade-plus - being mooted at the meeting.

Committee chairman Cllr Jacob Williams said: “If you can prove it’s immune from enforcement it could be a ‘trump card’.”