At a meeting of Powys County Council’s planning committee on Thursday, councillors debated an application by Sheehan Holdings Ltd to change the use of a field near Llanfair Caereinion to be able to accommodate caravans.
It would allow the company to add another 20 static caravans to Fir View Holiday Park, Tan y Ffridd, which is located off the A495 between Pontrobert and Llangyniew.
Two years ago, planning permission was granted for 54 static caravans, which took the number at the holiday park up to 228.
Principal planning officer Luke Jones presented the report told the councillors, recommending approval for the scheme.
A major issue of concern was the proposed emergency evacuation route through Mathrafal wood to the rear of the site.
Councillor Gareth D Jones said: “I know this was accepted in a previous application but it doesn’t mean it was right and that we have to accept it now.
“This alone is a reason for not accepting this.”
Councillor Jonathan Wilkinson said: “What’s there is a narrow stone track that’s not really navigable for anything larger than a quad bike.
“I’m not at all satisfied that it is a realistic option.”
Councillor Gwynfor Thomas said: “I do believe this application would have benefited from a site visit.
“I drove this road the other day, and I’m shocked at the visual impact on the beautiful Vyrnwy valley.
“But my main concern is access to the site, it’s subject to flooding without doubt.
“The applicant doesn’t have control of that route, if the owner has closed the road there is no access for our emergency services.”
Mr Jones explained that the correct procedure had been followed by the applicant who served notice on the landowner, but “no response” had been received from them.
Councillor Thomas said: “I find that unacceptable we have a responsibility to everyone staying on that site.
“We could have a massive tragedy on our hands and I would not be agreeable to passing an application where we’re unclear on ambulance or fire engine access to the site.”
Councillor Iain McIntosh said that the development having an “adverse impact on the surrounding area” could be another reason to throw into the melting pot.
“It’s going to be a blot on the landscape,” he added.
Planning committee solicitor, Colin Edwards said: “My concern is that if your reasons for refusal is weak you expose the authority to the risk of costs.”
Mr Edwards stressed that if a planning inspector finds the councillors reasons to reject the plans to be “unreasonable” they could award costs against Powys.
“So just bear that in mind,” advised Mr Edwards.
Councillor Jonathan Wilkinson proposed rejecting the application which was seconded by Councillor Iain McIntosh
Councillors went on to vote on the proposal, with 13 voting in favour of rejecting the application, two against and two abstaining.
The exact wording of the refusal will be delegated to the lead planning professional, Peter Morris, the committee chairman Councillor Karl Lewis and vice-chairman, Councillor Gareth D Jones.