HL Deb 03 May 1988 vol 496 cc369-70

Lord Hunt asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their policy regarding the construction of a permanent chalet complex on the cliffs near Amroth in the Pembrokeshire National Park, in the light of repeated objections by the park authority.

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, the application referred to by the noble Lord has been called in by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales for his own decision. In due course there will be a local public inquiry conducted by a planning inspector who will report to my right honourable friend. I hope that the noble Lord will understand that I must not say anything which could be taken as prejudging or affecting the outcome of the inquiry.

Lord Hunt

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. As the application concerns a national park whose essential characteristic is its magnificent heritage coastline, will the Minister ask his right honourable friend to bear in mind the dangerous precedent which would be set by acceding to the application? I have in mind the possibility of further development elsewhere along our coastlines, leading to the kind of development which has gone so far towards ruining many Mediterranean coasts.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I am aware that there is a very strong body of feeling about this particular application. However, I hope that the noble Lord will understand that I really must not comment on propositions for or against it for fear of anticipating the outcome of the inquiry.

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos

My Lords, we welcome the fact that the Minister appreciates the strong feeling which exists about this matter and that there is a strong case for the calling in of the application by his right honourable friend. Can the Minister say whether or not the employment issue is a factor in this case? How many jobs would be created if the scheme were approved?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I dare say that that is just the kind of consideration that the applicants would want to put before the public inquiry. In due course the inspector will no doubt comment on them.

Viscount Tonypandy

My Lords, while we appreciate that the Minister is unable to say anything further about the calling in of this application, will he convey to his right honourable friend that there is great optimism created by the fact that it has been called in? We have very great faith that the Secretary of State for Wales will realise that this is one of our most attractive places and that it should be protected.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, again I have no doubt that the kind of views expressed by the noble Viscount will be put forward at the public inquiry. I am sure that they will be reflected in the inspector's report.

Lord Rochester

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware—he is because I told him so just now!—that I own a small property only half a mile from these chalets? Will he accept that some of the static caravans, which the developer now proposes to replace with permanent buildings, have in my view—and I mean that literally—disfigured this lovely coastline far too long? Rather than being replaced, they should be removed altogether.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I can only suggest to the noble Lord that he seeks an opportunity to put those views to the public inquiry.