Thursday, 1 October 2015

Emlyn's Barn - Take 2... - Updated

Update 9th October; see the outcome of the meeting here; Council leader's barn - yet another site visit!

Update 7th October;

Just a reminder that the council leader's barn will be up for a decision at tomorrow's planning committee. (As long as it's not mysteriously deferred now that the spotlight's on it...). The webcast starts at 10am here.

Going by the latest photos, Cllr Dole must be very confident that the committee will support is progressing and he's even bought the roof trusses.


Pic source ;Llanelli Herald. Click to enlarge


Further to earlier reports back in August ( see Emlyn's Barn), it looks like the Leader of Carmarthenshire Council, Emlyn Dole (Plaid) is having further problems over his demolished historic barn, or 'Southfork' as one unnamed local resident recently described it.

A new, retrospective application has been recommended for refusal. Again, as before, the application is in Cllr Dole's wife's name.

You may remember that permission was granted in 2012 to convert the barn, sympathetically, to a hairdressing salon and two holiday lets for family Dole at Capel Ifan Farm, Pontyberem.

The Council's enforcement team stepped in last year when the barn, part of which dates back over 400 years, went from this;

to this;

As a result of the enforcement action, a further planning application was submitted in 2014 for a part new build. This was recommended for refusal by officers but was then approved by the Planning Committee after a site visit... However the decision was never issued as the applicant wanted to amend the permission, hence this new application which is technically speaking, still the same one.

Meanwhile, it seems from this latest planning officer's report, that things have moved on apace. The whole thing has been demolished completely and new building already started with an additional reception area and another storey over the hairdressing salon. Again, without the proper planning permission.

This is now a retrospective application for a 'new build for holiday and business purposes in open countryside', well outside of any development limits, contrary to policy, and has been recommended for refusal.

So far, the Leader of the council appears to rode roughshod over the planning system.

The application will be considered at next Thursday's Planning Committee and it will be interesting to see what happens. To start with, it is unlikely that a further site visit could be engineered, even for the benefit of the Leader of the Council.

Secondly, Planning Committee members have often been heard to deplore retrospective planning applications, regarding them as something of a cheek, never mind for controversial 'new builds in open countryside'.

The Committee needs to show consistency over planning policy, Council leader or not, and I wouldn't have thought they had any choice now other than to agree with the officer's recommendation and refuse it.
Though stranger things have happened.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole


Wavell said...

Is this the reason he appears to be supporting the CE and his "executives" I wonder.
I voted Plaid due to their vision of a clear and honest county - I think I should have gone to Specsavers !!

What a bunch of two-faced hypocrites.

You are a big big big big big BIG disappointment Plaid and most certainly do not deserve to lead the council and I firmly believe that the Cneifiwr was aware of this and dumped his supporting blog for that reason.

Anonymous said...

Crooked crooked crooked. What disgraceful conduct from the Leader of the council. It's time people were penalised with very hefty fines for flouting planning regs. Not rewarded for it. He surely will now be remembered for destroying a part of Welsh heritage. His conduct is exactly what one woukd expect from this abysmal council.

Anonymous said...

I've long since ceased to be shocked at unscrupulous conduct of the CEO, officers, and most councillors - the shock will be when honesty and integrity becomes common place.

Anonymous said...

These people are disgraceful.They have neither honesty nor integrity and will do anything they possibly can to flout planning policies.Very interesting to see what happens.Does this man have any care at all for welsh cultural heritage?
Has he not been to St Fagans? Where financial gain is concerned culture goes out of the window.Apart from all that it is the flouting of planning policies and advantages for the favoured which really are shameful.

Anonymous said...

Emlyn Dole is a disgrace to Wales. A barn which remained intact for four hundred years - he destroyed in just few hours. He should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

Of all people, Cllr Dole should have known that planning approval was required for the demolition of these buildings.
In August, when asked by the Herald whether permission had been granted for demolition, his reply was that "demolition was undertaken with regards to safety and structural integrity of the building".
However, demolition is only exempt from the need to seek a determination when it is urgently necessary in the interests of health or safety. This is clearly not the case here as the structural engineer’s report dated 19th June 2015 states “…leads us to have both long term stability concerns for these walls and potential health and safety issues when the works are undertaken.” – no sense of an urgent necessity there.

Anonymous said...

He should be made to put it all back STONE -BY - STONE.
What would the Council do if I did what he has done ?

Anonymous said...

key words from anon at 18 :51 quoting structural engineer's report "... health and safety issues when the works are undertaken" WHEN THE WORKS ARE UNDERTAKEN.This shows a blatant disregard for planning policy and yes he should be made to put it back as anyone else would have to.Disgusting.

Ken Haylock said...

Out of interest, if they _do_ approve it tomorrow, would it be possible for the Welsh Assembly Government to call the application in for consideration the way they do with big development schemes? Because if approved, something that stinks this much brings the whole edifice of local government into ever greater disrepute, especially if it is properly publicised. The litany of this council's misdeeds, miss-steps and ...suspect... decisions grows ever longer, and the longer it remains a law unto itself, acting terribly with utter impugnity, the more those who _could_ act but chose to turn a blind eye will suffer damage to their own reputations. Especially if the media hold their feet to the fire!!

caebrwyn said...

Hi Ken, just to clarify, this application is up for a decision next Thursday, 8th October. As for the call-in procedure, the planning Committee will be webcast so we will have to wait and see what is decided.

Ken Haylock said...

Yes, I'm somewhat prejudging the issue here, because... well... Carmarthenshire. But the omens are not good - when developers in London demolished a pub overnight that they had no permission to, the council emergency injuncted the developer to halt all further works and removal of any materials from the site and then has required them to reinstate the building brick by brick to its original condition, irrespective of any application. That has pointedly not happened here, and call me cynical but the prospect of this council refusing the leader planning permission and then requiring him to make good the historic barn as it was... umm... well, I'm not holding my breath. The best I expect is some murky 'compromise' in which everybody says tut tut just loudly enough to make it clear for the record that there is no special treatment yadda yadda, and then he gets to build whatever the hell he wants because... reasons...

I'd love to be pleasantly surprised...

caebrwyn said...

You are quite right Ken, there has been plenty of murk already with this application, and it stinks, you know this council very well. There should be nothing less than a unanimous refusal next week, but we'll see.

Anonymous said...

What this grubby episode emphasises is why there is an urgent need for a Public Inquiry into Carmarthens planning department. Mark James has already interfered with a call for one via someones petition, this should now be resurrected.

Anonymous said...

Am I right in believing that Emlyn Dole at this point has no credibility whatsoever?
He was elected as a councillor entrusted with ensuring honesty and democracy after the
failure of the previous administration.The current situation with the demolition of a 400 year old barn makes it clear that Councillor Dole, as Plaid and a Christian is sadly lacking in the attributes essential to his position as leader.

Anonymous said...

With all the criticism of planning within CCC it is extremely foolhardy of Emlyn Dole to
have put himself in the firing line over his 400year old barn .It is concerning when a councillor is involved in questionable planning applications but here we have the Plaid Leader himself bringing the council into disrepute-just as did Kevin Madge. This is by far the worst example of a person bent on destroying albeit a small part of the heritage of Carmarthenshire and by a Council Leader at that. I go as far as to say a resignation would be the most appropriate action Councillor Dole should now take

Anonymous said...

Whether its the thirty pieces of silver, or just the one, the net outcome is just the same. Rhag eich cywillydd Mr Dole! Dim gwell na'r gwaethaf!

Anonymous said...

In the July 2012 application Dyfed Archaeology indentifies the site as having historic interest, and therefore recommends a Grampian Condition requiring a detailed photographic record prior to any alterations.
Was this done? If so it could be very useful evidence of structural condition.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting if there are any absentees from the planning meeting . I hope councillors ask for and have a recorded vote -- if not, the webcast might help to see who voted, and how they voted.

Anonymous said...

Emlyn Dole is looking as severe an electoral liability as Kevin Madge was to Labour. Will the plaid county councillors opt to keep their lucrative jobs or decide to get their AM candidates elected next year?

Anonymous said...

The impression given in this is that there were health and safety issues at the present time.The engineer's report says the issues would be when the barn was demolished.
Am I right?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there's much doubt that Emlyn Dole is going to bring Plaid down. Plaid could do themselves a big favour and restore public confidence by showing some mettle by getting Cll. Dole to stand down. There must be someone amongst the Plaid contingent who could represent a more robust and transparent party. Oh and be able to stand uo to Mark James, which quite ckearly Cll. Dole is incapable of.

Anonymous said...

When is Carmarthen County Council and it's planning department held to account for their decisions that at most are suspect by the inconsistency shown and at worst by the total disregard that they show for procedure and protocol that they expect everyone else to abide by? I hope that the electorate hold them to account in May's elections and the unelected members of the council are shown the door. A total travesty. "most transparent Council" Who is kidding who?

Ken Haylock said...

The big takeaway here is that they are all all apparently in it for themselves and what they can get, whatever fine words they use when they aren't the incumbent. Presumably as long as the council is hiring plenty of fluent welsh speakers (i.e. Plaid voters) and the councillors are enjoying the perks of office, all is right with the world and Mark James will ensure that everything 'runs smoothly' if they don't rock the boat.

I'm sure those who voted PC not because they believed in 'jobs for the boyos' or much else of PC's cultural & political ideology, but merely because they wanted somebody to clean the Aegean stables and Plaid claimed to be up to the task, will already be seething with disappointment and anger.

Still, there's time yet. He said with forced optimism.

If nothing fundamentally improves over the next few months, the fact that every major political 'force' in Carmarthenshire local politics has apparently been completely unable to alter the unacceptable trajectory of Carmarthenshire politics one single iota, nor halt some of the most agregious abuses, nor yet reverse some of the most catastrophic past decisions, is further evidence that Carmarthenshire is not a democratically controlled local council in any meaningful sense.

Anonymous said...

I trust that Linda Rees Jones will be on hand to advise members that the decision reached has to be sound would have to stand up to a challenge in the High Court.

Anonymous said...

looking at the original picture, it seems to have a historical value, depends on cadw's perspective if it's an interest to them.
Usually being single cold walls or 'wet' walls affecting the interior. wether they could have been lined inside to compensate, joist replacements and if the original could actually be habitable even after 'making it good'. how long would the new interior have deteriorated.

something could have been done without having to remove the original walls, but that depends if in the opinion of the builder if that would have worked.

then again, there's a 400 year old single barn just up the road in ammanford that's being converted for dwellings. probably that'll come down.

bit late now to put it back as it was, the stones be in landfill by now.


Anonymous said...

A permanent destruction of Welsh historic barns and a permanent stain on a Plaid man's reputation.