Apple Camping in Pembrokeshire had a ‘disco chapel’ without permission – The Pembrokeshire Herald
A ‘glamping’ site in Pembrokeshire – nationally famous as a place where you can stay on a jet, UFO, speedboat or submarine – is placing attractions on the site without planning permission, and even turning a storage area into a ‘disco chapel’.
At a meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee in September, members considered a retrospective application by Toby Rhys-Davies to change the layout and number of holiday units at Apple Camping, Redperth, near Tenby.
A report to members, recommending conditional approval, said: “The application has been submitted to regulate the unauthorized development that has taken place at the Apple Camping site and to secure approval of details relating to an approved ‘buffer zone’ which was subject to conditions on previous planning permissions relating to the site.
A member report stated that “levelling” was required in North Square for: 2 “Pac-Man” units, 1 train transport unit, 1 fuselage unit, 1 wizard’s hat unit, and 1 “Hobbit House” unit, along with retaining the built-up facilities.
The South Field sought to organize the provision of speedboats and submarine units. Along with retaining three blocks of toilets/showers/kitchen, built sanitation arrangements, such as built external lighting arrangements and approval of landscaping details were also implemented.
Approval has also been sought for landscaping details associated with the proposed ‘buffer zone’ on the site’s boundary with an adjacent watercourse.
The report added: “It is clear that the principle of using both fields for holiday accommodation purposes has been allowed due to decisions made by the council as the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and through the appeals process.
“Officials have concluded that, taking into account the details of the individual aspects of the application now under consideration, the principle of continued use of the land for holidays is acceptable.”
Speaking on behalf of the applicant, agent Andrew Vaughan Harris said the “quirky tourism” venue first started out a decade ago and has grown into a “very huge success”, which has been featured heavily on terrestrial television channels and the national press.
“It has proven to be a success, with lots of visitors and lots of TV channels.
“However, Mr Rhys-Davies appears to have gotten a bit carried away in his success, bringing in these various schemes without planning permission,” suggesting he may have “not ticked the right boxes”.
“Unfortunately, for Pembrokeshire, he is considering putting it on the market,” Vaughan Harris said, before hinting at another project Rhys-Davies was “waiting for”.
“If you are going to have to sell your tourism project, you have to put everything in order; the ‘church’ building – I think the evidence is there that it was used as a warehouse and as a function building – which has to stop until the correct approvals are obtained.
One objector was Jeffreyston Local Community Council, which raised several concerns, saying Apple Camping had “completely ignored correct planning procedures over an extended period”.
Among the many concerns raised were the following: “Apple Camping has an entertainment complex site referred to as the ‘Disco Chapel.’ This is advertised as a party or public party rental on the site.
It raised concerns about noise pollution, the health and safety of these parties, and the impact on wildlife in the area.
It also raised concerns about drainage from the site directly onto the highway and visual impact.
Local councilor Vanessa Thomas raised concerns with the council, demanding – among other points – that the “Disco Chapel” be returned to storage only.
Councilor Mark Carter moved the recommendation, and it was seconded by Councilor Jamie Adams, who said it was an “opportunity to regulate” activities at the site.
Members unanimously supported this recommendation.