Sir Terry says council 'blown it' over Ryder row

The owner of the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport says he will pull the plug on his future investment plans for the city, after a planning row.

Sir Terry Matthews says city councillors have "blown it", after refusing permission to move an old farmhouse at the Ryder Cup venue.

Newport councillors rejected the plea as the 17th Century property is a listed building.

But Sir Terry said it was a "slap in the face".

Members of Newport council's planning committee decided on Wednesday to reject an appeal to dismantle the 400-year-old property that lies on the edge of the 18th hole on the course.

It would have been rebuilt at a nearby location.

However, councillors insisted that the building, called Little Bulmore farmhouse, should be kept in its present state and location because it was a listed building.

Sir Terry has reacted angrily to the decision.

He told BBC Wales: "I'll move out. I'm a businessman. If I get a big enough offer, why stay when I can be in the Caribbean?

"Just like Newport council, I can make choices too.

"This is a slap in the face. I was looking to bring some tech businesses to Newport.

"I think it's the end of the line now. I have choices to make - it just won't be in favour of this area."

Officials in Newport said planning officers had advised council members to approve the application to move the farmhouse, stating that they felt it was the best solution.

'Bitterly disappointed'

"However, the planning committee is independent. Members are entitled to make the decision they believe is most appropriate after weighing up all the considerations including comments from statutory bodies," said a council spokesperson.

The council said it remained "extremely grateful" for Sir Terry's ambassadorial role for the city and the economic benefits his investments had brought to Newport.

The spokesperson added: "While we can understand the frustration that Sir Terry is feeling at present, we would very much hope that our good and strengthening relationship over the last two years on all our joint projects will not be impaired."

But the council leader Matthew Evans expressed his concern at the decision taken on Wednesday.

"I am bitterly disappointed and mystified by the planning committee's decision," he said.

The Ryder Cup takes place at the Celtic Manor Resort from 1-3 October.

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