Protecting Our Woodland And The Life Within.
Penrhos, Holy Island
Situated on the stunning coastline of Anglesey is our most cherished and beautiful Penrhos Nature Reserve. Newly named Penrhos Coastal Park!
Penrhos Nature Reserve was once part of the grand estate of Penrhos and belonged to the much loved and respected Stanley family. Penrhos is indeed abundant with local history, which we believe is part of our heritage. One that we do not wish to lose by the passage of time or development into a holiday village, which is a very real threat that our treasured Nature Reserve faces.
Parts of the woodland were created in the early 1700’s, with 15,000 broad leaved trees. It is called home by many rare species of flora and fauna, ranging from humble fungi to badgers, bats, bees, foxes, a plethora of birds, butterflies, newts and much, much more, including and
not forgetting, our much loved red squirrels, whose fun and frolics entertain the hearts of many. A truly magical place, brimming with history and nature in the whisper of the trees.
The area has been part of an AONB since 1967, with sandbanks and mudflats of the Beddmanarch Bay being part of the Beddmanarch & Cymyran Site of Special Scientific Interest. (SSSI)
In 2009 Anglesey gained Global and European Geopark Status because of its unique geology, whilst the Gorsedd - y - Penrhyn headland, within the reserve is designated as a Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Site. (UKRIGS)
By now, you may be asking; How can such a place be at risk from development into a holiday village? You may even be horrified to learn that 27 acres of mature and ancient woodland are marked to be felled. Feel aghast that most of the planning application has already been passed? Yes, we do too! What happened? We will tell you our truth as we know it.
This Planning application spreads far and wide, and as we know, it can lead to the adage 'follow the money’. This is a complex system which includes, government bodies from the local and county council, AM Rhun Ap Iorwerth, MP Albert Owen (at that time), now MP. Virginia Crosbie, to government bodies such as (NRW) Natural Resources Wales etc. (who are paid substantial amounts to run 'Sham Consultations' where every possible valid question is disregarded with disdain and contempt.)
Rio Tinto Zinc made their pot of gold from Holyhead people years ago. Now we the local people/workers are left with the monstrosity they built being defunct. RTZ knew this years ago and had plans set in place to 'get out of town fast' but of course it’s not so easy when you have such a large piece of land that contains a toxic dumpsite! Their saving grace was the land parallel, Cae Glas and Penrhos Nature Reserve.
Slowly RTZ decommissioned the site, meetings were held with councillors. Said councillors (based on biased media coverage) said they explored every avenue to keep the site open and jobs here for the boys! Mmmmm questionable?
Deals could be done and eyes lit up with the thought of how to best distribute the land, get the best price for all without having to clear up the mess (toxic waste) from the dumpsite that RTZ had used for 40 years, whilst still trying to look like the good guys. With RTZ gone and all their jobs, these 'yokels' could and would be grateful for any job on offer. So began the secret deals.
The less the public knew the better, so by the time we the people suspected anything was about to happen, L&L had been in talks with RTZ done the deal spread their wings out looking for government grants and set up a spurious development company Land and Lakes Anglesey Ltd. They drew up their plan and had a couple of hours to show off their nice montages of how wonderful this 'world-class leisure park' would be and their promise of 600+ much-needed jobs. Celebratory drinks would be had with said councillors in the Trearddur Bay Hotel as L&L must have chortled in the fact they had overcome their first obstacles with such ease. The Town Council just promised them everything! Next came the county council, but to win them over you had to find a few sorts of smartish fellows from the planning office to smooth the way.
After all this was done and dusted next came the public, but that was neither here nor there as the deal had been done anyhow. They can be bought with a few hundred quid thrown into a pot for firework display (who doesn't like fireworks?) and another couple of hundred on kiddies Christmas boxes, (don't forget the help from certain people at the government run Mon CF Offices and help from the Labourite Unite Union). Spread the word people. Our intentions are for the greater good of Holyhead. Never mind if we cause fractions between the yokels. Some will believe our 'hype' some won't. Who cares?
Here is where the story gets a little difficult for L&L..... We cared and so do thousands of others. A Save Penrhos Facebook page was set up and thousands added themselves with their disdain for the plans and the thoughts of our beloved nature reserve would be decimated, with 27 acres of our oldest trees felled for all the lodges and greed.
The application went in front of the planning members on 2 October 2013. Luckily we were able to speak in the meeting. Over 500 letters of objection from the public, schools on Anglesey and government bodies were handed in as were, 3 separate petitions totalling over 5,000 signatures against the plans. After hours of deliberation, the vote was in 5 to 3 members against the application.
There was a cooling-off period of 4 weeks before the planning application could be presented again, due to planning members voting against planning officers. In that time L&L set about dividing the townsfolk in Holyhead against each other as much as possible. L&L continued to say this application was so important to house the 5,000 Wylfa Newydd Contractors for Horizon that it was in the 'national interest'!
The application came back to the Isle of Anglesey County Council on 6 November 2013. This is where the big guns were brought in: a planning barrister Gary Soloman from Burges Salmon. Gary Solomon specialised in major/contentious planning applications. The planning members who voted previously were continually made aware that if this application was not passed on this occasion that Land and Lakes would sue the IoACC for hundreds of thousands of pounds. We tried to explain at that time that Horizon had no contract with L&L for any of the Horizon workers, which L&L had no money and were looking for grants to start the work, but this fell on deaf ears. Disappointingly the application was passed with a complete turnaround from two planning members who felt the IoACC could not bear the brunt of being sued.
Many things have come to light since that day.
Thousands more of people have come to realise the importance of Penrhos and have joined us in this fight against the L&L plans. We cannot let them destroy what is so dear to us. A place where we find peace and solace. A place where we have spread ashes of loved ones in places they wanted to be laid to rest. To think that almost 75% of Penrhos could be concreted over is nothing less than desecration.
This is a letter from the legal team to the Planning Officer of Anglesey County CouncilTo open in a seperate window and download click here