South West Wales

Pembrokeshire park 'shortcomings' over Newport house

A row over a house branded an eyesore cost Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority £77,000, a report has found.

Planning permission was first granted for the property called Bettws Newydd, near Newport, in 2006.

The structure differed from original designs so the authority ordered the owner to make changes, but he successfully appealed.

The report found 15 separate failings by the authority, which has admitted to "a large number of shortcomings."

When Nolan Nicholas, who owns a windows and doors firm, sought retrospective planning consent last year hundreds of people objected, claiming the house was "visually intrusive" and "completely out of scale and keeping with the area".

The authority received 35 letters of objection and a petition signed by almost 500 people claiming it was an "eyesore", along with two letters of support.

It refused the application but it was granted by a Welsh Assembly Government appointed planning inspector on appeal.

The report on the row prepared by the authority's monitoring officer John Parsons found 15 separate failings which included not checking the building work as it was proceeding.

He said it "raised very serious issues as to the ability of the authority to provide an effective planning service."

"It's the most serious incident I've had to look at since I've been in post and it has highlighted a large number of shortcomings," he told a meeting on Wednesday.

Part of the authority's role is to rule on planning applications within the national park.

Authority chief executive Tegryn Jones said new procedures had been put in place since 2006.

He said while it was a "sobering report" he hoped it was an "isolated case."

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