South East Wales

Brecon Beacons mansion owner wins court battle with planners

Llanwenarth House
Image caption Llanwenarth House sits in the Usk Valley within sight of the 'purple-headed' Sugar Loaf and Blorenge mountains and the River Usk in the valley nearby

The owner of a Welsh mansion which is said to have inspired the Victorian hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful has won a battle to stop planning officials getting inside.

A court heard how officials from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority made up to 20 visits to Kim Davies' mansion.

They feared Grade II-listed Llanwenarth House, near Abergavenny, had had a "footballer's wife-style" re-fit.

Magistrates threw out the authority's warrant bid to get into the property.

It is currently up for sale for £2.25m.

The authority went to court after Mr Davies refused their request for another visit - from an architectural historian to inspect the Elizabethan mansion house.

National Park planning officer Clare Jones told the hearing she had visited the property at least 10 times.

She said: "But the authority has now engaged a conservation expert who needs to advise us about the works that have taken place.

"He will advise the authority if the history of the building has been compromised and on remedial work to put the building back to its original state."

Mr Davies, a builder and car dealer, bought the house for £675,000 in 2007 and has spent more than £1m on it.

He admits that a new kitchen and bathrooms have been installed but claims the work falls outside the restrictions on listed buildings.

'Enough is enough'

Planning officials were called in after it was compared to a "footballer's wife monstrosity" which may have damaged the historic gem.

An injunction has been taken out to stop Mr Davies carrying out more works on the mansion.

Mr Davies told Abergavenny magistrates that he had always complied with the regular inspections by the national park officials.

But he opposed the application for a warrant to enter the property saying: "Enough is enough".

He told the magistrates: "I have to take a stand. No further work has taken place since their last visit."

Dr Charles Mynor, representing Mr Davies, told the bench: "There have been up to 20 visits and there is no evidence of any new works or that anything extra has happened.

"It seems that the national park are coming back for another bite of a cherry that has already been bitten on many occasions."

Chairman of the bench Dr Christopher Rowlands told the court: "Mr Davies has said under oath that no further work has been carried out on the property. And on those grounds the application is refused."

A spokeswoman for Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said later: "We are extremely disappointed with this morning's decision and we are now exploring the options that are open to us."

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