Members of Tenby Town Council and Tenby Civic Society have recommended refusal for plans to alter private gardens overlooking North Beach that serve a set of holiday homes - slamming the proposals as ‘visually intrusive and unattractive’.

Full and Listed Building planning applications (NP/23/0551/LBA & NP/23/0550/FUL) for the repositioning of existing access gate through railings; a new steel staircase from pavement level to link to existing steps down cliffside; and new decked terrace structure over the lower cliff area, at Croft House, 2 The Croft were considered by Tenby Councillors at their meeting last week, for recommendation to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Councillors recommended refusal - with members concurring with Tenby Civic Society’s views that the metal stairway and metal terrace balcony, contrary to the policies of the Local Development Plan, will be visually intrusive from various viewpoints of the North Beach; and will be out of character with the green sweep of the shoreline above the North Beach and will diminish the character of the Conservation Area.

Tenby Civic Society’s Harry Gardiner put forward the views of members of the Executive Committee to PCNPA, stating: “The membership were most disappointed with these intrusive and unattractive proposals.

“Following the Fourcroft garden [situated next door] being left overgrown then stripped bare and ugly, other property owners caring for Tenby must feel Tenby is being let down by the Croft Gardens.”

The Civic Society stated that the proposed metal stairway will be elevated above the existing gardens and it, and the lower deep metal terrace balcony, would be:

• visually conspicuous;

• out of character with the area;

• will change and diminish the character of the Conservation Area;

• and will leave the upper existing steps and upper terrace out of use (“unsafe” because ‘uneven’) depriving flat users use of this part of the site and leaving it at the risk of poor maintenance and looking abandoned.

“The elevated staircase would change the character of the slopes below the Croft, which are a prominent part of the whole green sweep of the shore above the North Beach,” continued Mr Gardiner.

“The lower terrace steel deck will be similarly conspicuous from the North Beach, especially from the many viewpoints which would view it from a diagonal.

“There is no detail on the flooring – wooden decking is very slippery and dangerous when wet and takes time and expense to keep safe.

“Existing or future vegetation are hardly mentioned, yet this is a green slope above the beach in the wider view and a potentially attractive garden space for the flat users to enjoy quiet moments in a cared for and beautifully located garden; a fire escape and a steel dockside platform are inappropriate. A scheme for planting and retention of plants is essential to the sites character and its setting.

“We note that the Fourcroft gardens were first left to over-grow, then ripped out and left bare and ugly, not maintaining the character of this part of the Conservation Area.

“Is it the National Park’s role to allow change on the Croft to be ugly, or to retain the green character of these slopes?” he continued.

“In sum in respect of the gardens, the character of the Listed Building will not be improved or protected by these proposals. More sympathetic renovations of the existing terraces would be more in character with the Listing and the setting.

“The proposal would diminish the Conservation Area, the character of the locality and the views from the variety of viewpoints and other Listed Buildings and Ancient Monuments around this bay, which is held by many to be one of the most beautiful in the World, let alone Wales.

Croft House gardens
Tenby Civic Society stated that the elevated staircase would change the character of the slopes below the Croft, which are a prominent part of the whole green sweep of the shore above the North Beach. (Observer pic)

“Because consideration of listing building applications is more limited, their earlier acceptance can appear to prejudice the later appearance of a ‘full’ application and details may depart from those specified in the later ‘full’ approval.

On the full planning application, Mr Gardiner stated that the Civic Society’s opposition to this application was similar to the Listed Building application, stating that the problems of visual intrusion, local distinctive and historic character, appropriate materials and design, all apply to the proposal.

“A garden restoration scheme could overcome all of those concerns; we would welcome a revised scheme of that type,” he stated.

“In several places current garden quality along the Croft cliff slopes does not match that of much of the Esplanade.”

The proposals will be determined at a later date by PCNPA's development management committee.