A petition by a senior Pembrokeshire councillor calling for a halt to any new caravan sites in areas “already at capacity” has failed to get the backing of members of a special meeting, with claims it was “an attempt to rewrite the development plan”.
Amroth and Saundersfoot North county councillor – and Cabinet Member for Corporate Finance – Cllr Alec Cormack created the petition “To stop all new caravan sites in areas of the county that are already at capacity”.
Areas highlighted in the 1,251-strong petition included Pleasant Valley, Summerhill and surrounding areas close to the coast and National Park, and around Narberth, New Hedges, Broadmoor and Penally.
After meeting the 500-signature threshold for debate at council, it was considered at a special extraordinary meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council, held on November 10.
The petition said: “Some areas of Pembrokeshire have a lot of caravan sites and some areas have none. We’re conducting this petition to get Pembrokeshire County Council to stop allowing any new caravan sites in those areas that are already full to capacity.
The petition says a 2019 report, available on the county council’s website “identified that there were already areas of South Pembrokeshire that were at capacity”.
It added: “Despite having had the report now for almost four years, PCC ignores it when applications for new caravan sites are being considered. It appears that PCC want to wait until the next Local Development Plan (‘LDP2’) is introduced before taking any notice of this expert evidence.
“So, if, over the next couple of years, a new caravan site is proposed for, say, Penally or Pleasant Valley, then the council will ignore their own evidence that those areas are already at capacity. In fact, they will probably not even inform the councillors making the decision that this evidence exists.”
At the November meeting, Cllr Cormack said there had been a decades-long “understanding” that there would be no new caravan sites in ‘hotspot’ areas.
He called for the petition to be considered by the most appropriate committee of the council, with consideration the matter be sent to the council’s Cabinet.
Cllr Mike Stoddart raised concerns the petition call was “an attempt to rewrite the development plan,” adding: “I just don’t believe we have the power to overturn the statutory plan.”
He later added: “We’re a public body, we’ve got to decide whether to follow the rule of law or not.”
“I could get a petition up tomorrow to declare war on Carmarthenshire; if Cllr Cormack wants to include this in the development plan, he can make representations; this has no place in this chamber whatsoever.”
A proposal to refer Cllr Cormack’s petition to Cabinet was defeated by 44 votes to seven, with two abstentions.
A supported amendment was then made by Cllr Aled Thomas: that the petition be noted, and that members of the public are encouraged to continue to make any representations on the subject ahead of the adoption of the second local development plan (LDP2).