As from 1st December all Planning Authorities must adhere to new flood maps and the revised advice in TAN 15. The revised maps and guidance have now, finally, incorporated the effect of climate change on future flooding events and coastal erosion across Wales, and not simply the current risk.
New developments of homes, the emergency services, schools and hospitals, must not be located in areas of high flood risk without strong flood defences.
One big chunk of Llanelli now comes under these new rules. See the crosshatch in the picture below. And one would assume that The Mark James Luxury Spa, the Wellness Village (now called Pentre Awel, for shame's sake) will, as objectors predicted, be under water in the next ten to fifteen years.
Pentre Awel will surround Delta Lake (the elongated lake in the picture) and further plans for housing and the 'Wellness Hotel' encroach further into the prohibited area.
All that's between the sea and Delta Lake at the moment is a faulty sluice gate. Flood defences are insufficient. Putting a few feet of topsoil to raise the area isn't going to help, this is the Carmarthenshire Canute Approach to building on flood plains.
Click to enlarge
Of course the plans for the Wellness Village were driven through by Mark James, and concerns about flooding, which were repeatedly raised, were rubbished. Other concerns, that the development was currently under criminal investigation and riddled with corruption, were also ignored.
And we also know that Mr James had a rather different agenda to everyone else.
As an objector I was present at the Planning Committee meeting in January 2019 when the decision was made, and Sian Caiach, a County Councillor at the time voiced her objection. I wrote an account of the event here, plus some background... Our presence in County Hall coincided with the announcement of Mr James' hurried retirement, which also enabled Sian to publicly wish the "arrogant control freak" her warmest wishes.
By July Mr James was having his door kicked in by the organised crime squad.
The Wellness Village, or Pentre Awel, was approved under the old maps, but with the current lack of any serious private investment, a history of corruption, a planning department not fit for purpose, the council already in debt by nearly half a billion, and the prospect of major flooding, perhaps it's time to take another look at the sauna-on-the-swamp...