The long saga of the planning consent for approximately 800 homes at Morfa Bychan in Gwynedd has finally been laid to rest. The planning consent can no longer be implemented and the legal battles have been settled once and for all. Acting on the firm advice of a barrister Gwynedd Council has agreed to pay £1.9 million to settle the case arising from the way in which the former Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor dealt with this planning issue at Morfa Bychan. The landowner was claiming compensation, that could have been as much as £15 million, including interest and costs. Back in 1964 outline planning was granted for five holiday villages, about 800 houses on a 63 acres site at Morfa Bychan. By 1986, the then local authority Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor refused to acknowledge that the original planning consent was still valid and in 1991 the landowner took legal action against Cyngor Dwyfor. This marked the beginning of a lengthy legal battle between Dwyfor and the site owners, Agecrest. On local government reorganisation in April 1996 this case was transferred to Gwynedd Council. In June 1996 the High Court decided that the outline planning from 1964 was still valid and this was the end of the legal action about the validity of the planning consent. But in April 1997 a second case was brought against Gwynedd Council, as Dwyfor’s successor, based on the way in which Dwyfor had dealt with this matter between 1985 and reorganisation.
In March 1999 Bourne Leisure, the owners of Greenacres, bought the site. As they wanted to use part of the site as a caravan park, rather than follow the 1964 planning consent, they had to submit a new planning application to Gwynedd Council. Gwynedd awarded planning consent to site caravans on a small part of the site and to develop another part as a nature conservation area. Linked with this consent was a legal agreement which ensured that the 1964 planning consent can no longer be implemented. The action which started in April 1997 has been proceeding for some time. A spokesman for the council said that money has been set aside towards the cost of any award that might have been made by the courts against the Council, in respect of the case that started in 1997.
He added that this amount will cover the cost of this settlement. This means that budgets for delivering Council services will not have to be cut in order to make this payment.