South West Wales

Chris Evans warned on Swansea valley dinosaur planning

Model brontosaurus at National Showcaves Centre for Wales
Image caption More than 100 offers have been received for the model of the brontosaurus at the National Showcaves Centre for Wales

Broadcaster Chris Evans has been told he faces a big obstacle if he wants a 30ft (9m) model dinosaur in his garden.

The BBC Radio Two presenter would like the brontosaurus when it is given away by the National Showcaves Centre for Wales and replaced with a new dinosaur.

However, he has been warned it might be considered an out-building and could need planning permission.

But he faces competition after more than 100 inquiries to the upper Swansea valley centre.

The presenter was told on his programme on Friday that if he was chosen to house the dinosaur, he would probably need to win over planners.

Chris Kendal, director of UK government planning advice service the Planning Portal, told Evans: "It's likely, bizarrely, to be considered as an out-building."

Evans responded: "I'm not going to go inside her, I'm just going to look at her from afar fondly."

Mr Kendal said: "The planning system is there to make sure that when you look from afar fondly, then somebody else can't see if they don't want to, and it isn't going to fall on somebody."

"Come on, who doesn't want to see a dinosaur!" said Evans.

James Price, manager of the showcaves, said inquiries had been received from a range of groups and individuals including a school, an autistic centre and a grandfather wanting it for his grandson.

"We want it to go somewhere where something can be done with it so that it's not just stuck in the corner of a field," he said.

"It would be nice for it to be used and, if it can generate money for people, then even better. If it can be used by schools, that's just as worthwhile a cause."

Interested parties have been asked to put their case by e-mail.

Evans's team have been in touch with the showcaves but Mr Price said he was unlikely to win if the dinosaur was just going to sit in his garden.

The DJ admitted on his show he was not confident of being chosen to rehome the beast, which has been a feature at the centre for more than 20 years.

He told listeners: "There are other people who want it as well. Over 100 bids have gone in - 30 to 40 are being taken very seriously. A local school is well ahead in favourite position."

Evans also spoke on his show to Francine Clarkson, wife of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson, because the couple once tried to put a fighter jet in their garden.

"I think Jeremy thought it would make a good garden ornament and something the kids could play on, probably a bit like your dinosaur," she told Evans.

"But the council came round and said you don't have planning permission for that.

"We tried to argue that you don't need planning permission for a caravan and that's on wheels and, because the fighter jet was on wheels, therefore it couldn't be any more of a planning issue than a caravan."

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