THE Gower Society used a barrister and photos taken from a plane to successfully object to a field being becoming a holiday car park near Three Cliffs Bay.
Swansea Council considered evidence and letters from a number of sources and turned down a certificate of lawful use for landowner Tom Beynon, of Penmaen.
Mr Beynon wanted to use the field opposite the shop at Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park for full-time parking for the holiday period, usually between April 1 and October 31, for guests, dog walkers and RNLI lifeguards.
He submitted evidence to the local authority which he hoped would prove that the field had been used as a seasonal car park for a 10-year period.
Planning officers also received what they described as a “significant and substantial submission” from a Gower Society-commissioned barrister, which argued that the field in question had been used for outdoor seating as well as parking.
Officers examined photos taken as part of aerial surveys of campsites by the Gower Society, images from Google Earth, and photos taken by a neighbour.
In the report, the planning authority said it agreed with the barrister’s “analysis of aerial photographic records and considers that the scrutiny of the aforementioned photographs raises sufficient doubt to discredit the applicant’s claims of a continuous seasonal car parking use”.
In a letter to Mr Beynon turning down his lawful use application, Swansea’s head of planning and city regeneration Phil Holmes said: “Information obtained by and submitted to the council indicates that the site has not been continuously used as a seasonal car park during that period of time.”
In a statement issued after the decision, the Gower Society said Three Cliffs Holiday Park had extended and improved its business in recent years and received many accolades “of which it is no doubt worthy”.
It added: “However there have been many changes that have not gone down very well with the locals and ourselves.”
The statement said Mr Beynon would have been able to fill the field with hundreds of cars all through the summer period if the certificate of lawful use had been agreed.
It said: “This exercise was both expensive and time-consuming but has been successful and we cannot think of a better way of using the income from legacies left to the society to protect Gower from what we consider to be unreasonable over-development.”
Mr Beynon’s application received 42 letters of support and 11 of objection.
Most of the supporting letters said how convenient it was to park in the field but were described by planning officers as “largely non-specific in terms of where parking took place and on what specific dates”.
Similarly five of the objection letters, said planning officers, did not present any evidence.
We contacted Three Cliffs Bay Holiday Park but no-one was available for comment at the time of going to press.