UPDATED 7 September 2016
Town or Village Green Public Inquiry date announced: Monday 3rd October 2016, for up to 6 days, ending Monday 10th October at Holyhead Town Hall, Holyhead.
Town and Village Green Public Inquiry Announced
The Public Inquiry is being held with regards to the registration of the Newry as a Town and Village Green (TVG). It is not a Public Inquiry into the Waterfront/Marina Development. However, if the Newry area is registered as a Town and Village Green, it will be a consequence of the registration that the Newry beach part of the development cannot go ahead. The area will remain largely unchanged from what it is now.
Below is an article that appeared in the Daily Post 19th April 2016
£100m Holyhead marina WILL face public inquiry
19 April 2016 Daily Post
BY OWEN HUGHES
Anglesey council have announced inquiry will take place after receiving legal advice from a barrister.
A public inquiry will decide whether a £100m marina project on Anglesey goes ahead.
Conygar Stena Line want to build 326 homes, a 500-berth marina, retail, leisure, restaurants, hotel and office space, on Newry Beach, Holyhead.
The £100m project received planning permission in 2012 but opponents from the Waterfront Action Group submitted a ‘village green’ application for the seafront site to Anglesey council in February 2014 .If successful it would prevent any building taking place on large areas of the planned marina site and threaten the whole project.
After more than two years Anglesey council has decided to hold a public inquiry into the issue after legal advice from a barrister.
A council spokesman said: “The Isle of Anglesey County Council, acting as Registration Authority, has now received written advice from a barrister, Jeremy Pike, who specialises in the law of Town and Village Greens, in respect of the application to register land as a new town or village green in Newry, Holyhead.
“Mr Pike’s advice is that the Registration Authority should not make a decision on the application until it has first held a non-statutory public inquiry into certain matters identified in his written advice.
“The Registration Authority accepts this advice and will put in hand arrangements for an inquiry in due course.
“As we are now in the election period ahead of elections to the Welsh Assembly on May 5th 2016 and this matter is known to be of significant local interest, the Council, as Registration Authority, will not make any further public statement until after the elections.
“After the elections are concluded, the Registration Authority will publish Mr Pike’s written advice in full.”
Supporters of the project believe the waterfront scheme will help regenerate the port town while opponents say it will wreck the waterfront for local people.
The harbour is already home to the separately owned Holyhead Marina.
Conygar Stena Line said they could not comment until they had seen the written advice in full.
Waterfront Action Group comment:
The Public Inquiry is being held with regards to the registration of the Newry as a Town and Village Green (TVG). It is not a Public Inquiry into the Waterfront/Marina Development. However, if the Newry area is registered as a Town and Village Green it will be a consequence of the registration that the Newry beach part of the development cannot go ahead. The area will remain largely unchanged from what it is now. The Maritime Museum, Kayak Centre and the Sailing Club are not affected as they are not part of the claimed TVG. Besides, the planning consent given to Conygar Stena shows the Maritime Museum leaving Newry Beach and moving to a purpose built centre at Soldiers Point. Recently the Maritime Museum wrote to Anglesey County Council saying the length of time taking to come to a decision is affecting their plans for development. There has been no official declaration that the Maritime Museum is staying where it is rather than moving to Soldiers Point!
Furthermore, our TVG application does not affect the development of the Porthyfelin and Soldiers Point phases. Why have Conygar Stena not started work in these areas? Instead they have overseen the demise and decay of two listed buildings and done nothing to fulfil the promise and dreams of creating jobs in the hotel, visitors centre and so on.
Help to support our campaign and application to register the Newry as a Town and Village Green by making a donation. We need your help so we can present our application as effectively as possible at the Public Inquiry. Engaging the services of a top barrister specialising in Town and Village Green law to present our application will clearly help our application to register the Newry as a Town and Village Green. Thank you.
MORE ABOUT OUR VILLAGE GREEN APPLICATION
The Waterfront Action Group is awaiting the decision on the registration of Newry Beach and Greens as a Town or Village Green. Following our application in 2014 four letters of objection (from Conygar Stena Line Ltd, Stena Line Port, Holyhead Town Council and the Maritime Museum Holyhead) were received by Anglesey County Council. These, together with the application, are currently being considered by the Council’s independent barrister. Some concern has been expressed locally following the recent decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Village Green status granted to Newhaven beach. The Supreme Court judges ruled that a harbour foreshore could not be registered as a Town or Village Green as it would interfere with the statutory function of Newhaven port. The Newhaven case may appear to have similarities to our application to register Newry Beach and Greens as a Town or Village Green, however, the issues and situation here in Holyhead are very different from that in Newhaven. Our legal team have addressed the issues arising from the Newhaven decision on our application. No decision will be made until Anglesey County Council is satisfied that all parties have been given the opportunity to express their views. In the meantime we continue with our campaign to save Newry Beach and Greens from destruction by the Conygar Stena proposed Waterfront development. We ask our supporters to be patient and to keep an eye on this page for updates. Help to support our campaign by making a donation. Thank you.
PUBLIC NOTICE FOR ANGLESEY COUNTY COUNCIL TO SURRENDER THE NEWRY LEASE TO CONYGAR STENA LINE LTD.
PUBLIC MEETING HELD on THURSDAY 6th MARCH 2014 at 6.30pm Holyhead High School / Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi.
Holyhead and Anglesey Mail 12 March 2014
Daily Post 8th March 2014
On Thursday 20th February 2014 we were interviewed by ITV Wales News about our application to register the beach, promenade and greens as a ‘Village Green’. The programme was aired the following day Friday 21st February; lunchtime, early and late evening. CLICK HERE TO VIEW.
Follow our Freedom of Information Act request from Anglesey County Council by clicking on this link https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/c/d405bgpqnj3uwe0b7p5
STOP PRESS: 18th February 2014
VILLAGE GREEN APPLICATION and ANGLESEY COUNTY COUNCIL DECISION ON THE NEWRY LEASE
We have submitted an application to register Newry Beach, Promenade and Greens as a Village Green. Anglesey County Council hold lease discussion in private!
The Waterfront Action Group and the Save Penrhos Nature Reserve Group meet Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP, to raise his awareness of their campaigns, when he visited Holyhead Town Council on Monday 12th August 2013.
AM Candidates express their concerns about the Waterfront Development at Newry Beach. See Media Coverage for details. July 2013
‘The Wales Report’, BBC 1 Wales shown on 16th June 2013 featured a report on the Conygar Stena Waterfront Development. MP Albert Owen expressed his view on the proposed Waterfront Development in the programme: “At this stage the proposal is far too dense, too large and out of sync, but it can be redeveloped into a good project so that the people can be comfortable with it and it…………………”
Anglesey County Council Elections; a positive result for our campaign against the Waterfront Development (May 2013)
Congratulations to Cllr Raymond Jones, Cllr Bob Llewelyn Jones and Cllr Arwel Roberts on their success in being elected County Councillors for the Caergybi ward.
Over recent years all three have spoke against the Conygar Stena Waterfront development (in the Caergybi Ward) in its current form. They do not wish to see Newry Beach destroyed. Their combined share of the vote was 56% of a 48% turnout. 2530 residents of the Caergybi Ward voted for these three candidates which most likely reflect the feeling of the majority of residents against the Conygar Stena proposed development. This supports the strong message sent by our massive petition opposing the development when it was submitted for outline planning consent in June 2012.
Furthermore we are delighted that Cllr John Chorlton, an outspoken supporter of the Conygar Stena development and unfair critic of our opposition (see articles below), failed in his bid to be re-elected in the neighbouring Ynys Cybi Ward. It was a resounding vote against Cllr Chorlton who only managed to gain 475 votes (10%) of a 46% turnout.
Cllr Chorlton conceded on Radio Cymru (3 May) that his support, in the face of strong local opposition of the proposed Developments at Newry Beach and Penrhos Nature Reserve, played a part in his downfall during the local county council elections. http://www.bbc.co.
Reproduced from Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, Wednesday 8th May.
Unfortunately for our campaign Cllr Chorlton is returned as a Holyhead Town Councillor by virtue of the fact that no elections took place as all the candidates were elected unopposed. We can only speculate what might have happened if there had been an election in his ward.
Prolific campaigner against the Conygar Stena development is elected to HolyheadTown Council.
Congratulations to Cllr Shaun Redmond, previous Chairman of our Waterfront Action Group, on securing a seat on Holyhead Town Council. This gives us the confidence that issues about, and related to, the proposed development of NewryBeach, will be discussed fully. At long last the views of the public, the people of Holyhead, will be heard. A number of articles and letters written by Cllr Redmond are featured on our website.
1. LEASES AT NEWRY BEACH, HOLYHEAD. See Item 1 below.
2. The Waterfront Action Group ask Cllr John Chorlton to publicly apologise for his conduct and for describing our campaign as scandalous. See Item 2 below.
3. Cllr John Chorlton has no intention of apologising. See Item 3 below.
4. Statement from Conygar Stena published on www.holyhead.com. March 2013. See Item 4 below. The Waterfront Action Group wish to make it clear that it is NOT we who are making misleading and inaccurate statements.
ITEM 1 LEASES AT NEWRY BEACH, HOLYHEAD.
Agenda item 8 on the agenda of the Executive Committee of Anglesey County Council meeting held on Monday 11th February 2012 was about the Leases at Newry Beach, Holyhead.
The Head of Property Services in section D (Recommendation) of Agenda Item 8, recommended that the Executive authorise officers to commence negotiations with the developer for the surrender/transfer of the Council’s leasehold interest at Newry Beach, Holyhead and, if agreed, he invited the Executive to provide guidance for the officers with regard to these discussions.
The Executive agreed to authorise the officers to discuss the lease.
Transcript of Cllr J Chorlton’s speech on Agenda Item 8, Executive Committee Meeting YMCC 11th February 2013, where he launched a disgraceful unwarranted attack on the Waterfront Action Group
Listening to my two colleagues ( that is Cllr R L Jones and Cllr R Jones) behind me talking about openness and transparency, I’m not sure whether to laugh or to take the point seriously. I’ll take it seriously.
What’s been going on in Holyhead over the past few months regarding this application is absolutely scandalous.
They are talking about using the whole of the beach from one end to the other, that means from the Mountain to Lands end, and as you have just heard from the Officers, there is no such thing on the cards. The development doesn’t encompass a quarter of what they are talking about but they are willing to put that propaganda out to the general public to be misleading. Now we all know half a truth is worse than a lie, and that’s what is going on.
They talk about public meetings now according to them us Councillors in Holyhead have had an invite to a public meeting. Well can I put it on record here, I’ve never been to a public meeting and I am not talking about the public meeting J V (Cllr J V Owen) referred to; we all had an invite to that one, I’m talking to the meetings of the so called opposition, not sure what they call themselves, the waterfront opposition or something like that. They are the ones calling meetings on a daily basis practically and they are putting out propaganda about the development which is not true.
Now according to their propaganda the whole of the greens will have housing on it. Now if you look at the plans that you have before you today Sir, there’s housing there, there’s facilities for the boats etc there. There is no mention of housing on the Greens. It is in black and white that they are not there.
(Shaun Redmond from the public gallery “that has never been said”)
It most certainly has been said, it has been said on several occasions.
The information they are putting out and about is wrong.
By all means have a public debate. I don’t have a problem at all with that. Let’s get to the nitty gritty, let’s ensure the Breakwater is maintained, that is a must. We all agree on that, there is no argument, there is no difference between us, but let’s do it properly.
My understanding is that the developer intends to have a committee of locals to discuss the actual detailed planning. What they’ve got now is not detailed, that is to come. They will have a meeting with the people; they will set up this committee, as I understand, to discuss and to make sure that everybody is happy going forward.
But these people, whoever they are, I’ve never met them, I know for a fact that they are criticising myself and one or two others, yet they have never broken a word with me, they have never spoken to me once on any of the issues in hand but I know they are getting some feedback off other people, who might be here today, I’m not sure. They are misrepresenting our views, which is wrong.
So if we are going to be transparent and open, let’s be transparent and open, I don’t have a problem at all with that. I’ll stand and fight my corner because I want to be remembered in Holyhead as somebody who has done something for Holyhead, not somebody who has tried to kill it, somebody who has worked hard for the last 30 odd years to make sure Holyhead carries on, not to do it down.
Not to look after my own little patch. Not to make sure that my house keeps its price. I’ve got the truck stop coming on my doorstep and I welcome it. It might reduce the price of my house, I don’t know. But I am not concerned about that, I am more concerned about creating work for locals.
I could go on and on Sir because I get involved. I get emotional.
It is important that people know that we are not hiding behind closed doors, we are willing to meet with them we are willing to discuss with them but we’ll discuss the truth not a made up story.
ITEM 2 STATEMENT FROM THE WATERFRONT ACTION GROUP NEWRY BEACH HOLYHEAD
in response to the conduct of Cllr John Chorlton and his attack on the integrity of our campaign to Save Newry Beach
The Waterfront Action Group Newry Beach Holyhead (WAGNBH) wishes to make it clear that the reference, by Councillor John Chorlton, about our Campaign to Save Newry Beach, where he describes our Campaign as “scandalous, misleading and not factually correct”, is itself scandalous. We wish to elaborate.
On Monday 11th February 2013, two members of WAGNBH and another campaigner sat in the public gallery of the Council Chamber at YMCC in Llangefni, to hear the discussion about Agenda Item 8: Leases at Newry Beach. The aim of the discussion was for the Executive to decide whether or not to grant permission to the Officers of the Council to “enter into negotiations” with the developer, who has requested YMCC to surrender the lease which the Council holds to 2025. A further aim was for the Executive to give “direction with regard to discussions” if permission is granted to enter into such negotiations.
We sat in amazement as we listened to one member of the Executive, Cllr J Chorlton, deliver his address to the Executive. He used his time to besmirch the name of WAGNBH and its Campaign. He described us as the “Opposition”; that we are spreading “propaganda”. The content of his emotional ranting was entirely irrelevant to the subject of the Agenda Item and appeared solely to attack the integrity of the very people he is supposedly representing.
Cllr Chorlton’s reference to us talking about “the whole of the beach from one end to the other; that means from the Mountain to Lands End”, is wrong. He further said we have stated that houses will be built on the Newry Greens. We have never said this. He said we meet daily giving the impression that we are manically campaigning. We actually meet fortnightly or weekly if necessary.
We had no redress at the meeting of the Executive, as we are not allowed to speak from the public gallery. But we do take the opportunity here, on our website, to respond publicly to Cllr Chorlton’s conduct at the Executive meeting.
We consider his manner to be most unprofessional. We deplore the fact that he wasted valuable time at the Executive meeting. He did not say anything of relevance to the Agenda Item instead he spent his time verbally attacking the “so called opposition”. We believe he abused his official role in a most undemocratic way. What does this tell us about the type of man he is? We find his attitude disturbing and worrying. We are sad that some of our Town Councillors see us as “the Opposition”. Surely we should all be working together to get what is best for Holyhead! This from our elected representatives!
We would expect anyone making comment about our campaign to check their claims with us before going public. They should ignore hearsay and deal only in facts.
The WAGNBH is careful to ensure that the information we publish, and our views expressed to the public, are factually correct to the best of our knowledge, and fair. We research carefully, thoroughly and extensively, all aspects of our Campaign. We do not knowingly report hearsay. All our publications are evidence – based. Our website and our publicity about the proposed development at Newry Beach are the Group’s agreed views.
From the inception of WAGNBH we have always said that we are not against development where it is beneficial to the community. We do believe that developments which are the size and impact of the proposed Conygar Stena development should be fully debated and discussed in public, involving the Developer, Councillors, Council Officials and the Community so as to achieve the best outcome for everyone. In the case of the current proposed development at Newry Beach, there has been no public debate.
There was an exhibition presented by Conygar Stena in Holyhead Town Hall in 2010 to unveil their limited “artistic impressions”. This is all there has been.
We have requested an audio recording of the meeting under the Freedom of Information Act. If it is permissible we will make this available on our website as soon as we receive it. You can listen to this and then look at our website, our letters published in the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, and our publicity leaflet, and decide for yourself about what is going on.
Cllr Chorlton ought to apologise to the Executive Committee for the time he wasted at the Executive Meeting. He ought to request that his remarks be disregarded in the minutes of the meeting.
Cllr Chorlton ought to apologise publicly to those he has criticised and smeared. Below is the letter we sent to him.
Dear Cllr Chorlton
Please find enclosed a statement from the Waterfront Action Group Newry Beach Holyhead, in response to you branding our campaign to Save Newry Beach, as scandalous. Your conduct at the Executive Committee meeting on Monday 11th February was disgraceful and slanderous.
After reading our statement, we ask you to reflect on what you have said. We ask you to apologise publicly to the Waterfront Action Group through the Holyhead and Anglesey Mail, the Town Council website and via a statement posted on our website. We look forward to receiving this by the end of this month.
If you would like to discuss our campaign with us please let me know and we will be pleased to meet with you.
Professor Emeritus Terry Looker, Chairman
ITEM 3 Cllr John Chorlton has no intention of apologising. Posted 27th Feb 2013.
We have given Cllr Chorlton a chance to apologise for his disgraceful attack on our Wayterfront Action Group. He has failed to do so. Here then is a Counsellor who has demonstrated that he believes hearsay rather than establishing the truth before he speaks.
Letter from Shaun Redmond contains reference to Cllr Chorlton:
Letter sent to the Chief Executive of Anglesey County Council
Dear Mr Jones 18th February 2013
Please find enclosed a letter we sent to Cllr John Chorlton regarding his recent disgraceful conduct at the meeting of the Executive Committee on 11th February.
You are no doubt aware that there is considerable discontent in Holyhead about the Conygar Stena proposed development at Newry Beach and also about the Land and Lakes Penrhos development. We ask you to halt all further discussion by the County Council pending a full public consultation on both these developments. Our reason for this is as follows:
We are surprised that an extensive and open public consultation and enquiry has not taken place where two massive developments are proposed in a relatively small area. The social impact of both or either of these developments on the infrastructure and the community is deeply worrying. The impact on the environment, heritage and culture will dramatically change the face of Holyhead and Holy Island.
Questions have to be asked about the need for these developments. What will be the benefits? So far it seems that the financial interests of Anglesey County Council and the promise of (supposed) jobs are the only benefits. Financial considerations alone should not be a driver for developments and the huge number of jobs extolled by the developers are a myth.
We understand that Anglesey County Council and Town Councils wish to be seen as open and transparent and that they listen to the people of Anglesey. I am afraid we have seen little evidence of this for the Conygar Stena proposed development. To the contrary, we have experienced the opposite.
It appears that Holyhead Town Council has backed the Conygar Stena development from the outset, even before the Council met to formally declare they supported the development. At that meeting only one councillor spoke and voted against the development. Since then we understand that some Town Councillors have expressed unease about the original vote and say they are now against the proposed development on Newry Beach. One signed our petition to save Newry Beach. Questions should be asked as to why councillors now appear to have changed their mind.
The way the Town Clerk and Council have conducted themselves indicates that they made their minds up from the very outset that the Conygar Stena development will go ahead.
Public opposition was demonstrated through a 4,500 signed petition together with 300 letters. This seems to have counted for nothing.
At the Planning Committee meeting on the 6th June 2012, Anglesey County Council approved outline planning consent, despite your legal department advising caution. In this meeting a member of the Planning Committee insulted the residents of Holyhead by referring to those who live near Newry Beach as NIMBYs. Few, if any, well thought out benefits were discussed.
We raised conservation, heritage and legal issues that we felt should be addressed which seem to have got lost in the planning process.
We asked Cardiff to call in the application. As you know their decision was to refer it back to be dealt with locally. They made no judgement on the merit of the application. The application contravenes a number of issues within the application which should have triggered an automatic call in. Why was it not been called in?
Now, unfortunately, we are at the stage where there has been a request from the developer for the Council to surrender the lease. We are alarmed at what we have witnessed at the meeting of the Executive Committee on 11th February by the conduct of some of the Councillors. The conduct of Cllr Chorlton at the Meeting speaks for itself. He appears to have no compelling argument for the benefits of the development. He appears to be rattled because someone is opposing and challenging what he seems to want. What are his motives? Why does he behave this way? He spent his time at the meeting slandering “the opposition” and telling us about his virtues as a councillor. Why did he do this? We have never attacked him or questioned his past record. This is an example of why you need to ask questions about the process of the application to date.
We are also currently experiencing similar, abusive conduct from the Holyhead Town Clerk.
The Conygar Stena application to date appears as simply a rubber stamping exercise within the Council. No evidence of proper public consultation and debate. We ask you to halt all further discussion on the Conygar Stena proposal until there has been a full enquiry involving full public consultation.
Please act now before it is too late to prevent enormous damage; before our beach is destroyed and a social and community crisis occurs. There are alternatives to what is currently on the table. We are not against development where it is necessary and beneficial.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss our concerns with you and your colleagues. A small group of representing those opposed to the current Conygar Stena proposal will be happy to meet with you.
Professor Emeritus Terence Looker , Chairman
ITEM 4 See the statement by Conygar Stena published on www.holyhead.com.
The following is the statement provided by Dafydd Jones of Conygar published on www.holyhead.com, with added comments (shown in Bold) from the Waterfront Action Group.
“We (Dafydd Jones of Conygar) are aware of comments that have appeared in the media as regards the future of the Greens at Newry Beach many of which have been mischievous, misleading and inaccurate. It has been suggested by certain parties (We presume that the Waterfront Action Group maybe one such party) that amongst other things that the Greens could be built on in the future and that public access to the area would be denied (The Waterfront Action Group has NEVER said this), no funfairs or circuses to be held on the Greens, no picnics etc (The Waterfront Action Group has NEVER said this).
What we have said is this:
“No more ENJOYABLE picnics on the Greens and Beach Road FOR MANY YEARS” “POSSIBLY no more festival, funfairs and circus FOR MANY YEARS”.
Just imagine, would it be enjoyable on the Greens whilst construction were underway? Would it be enjoyable with construction traffic, noise, dust and constant disruption throughout the day?
There have even been suggestions (NOT from the Waterfront Action Group) that the Coast guard Station could be closed and that the Newry Beach allotment gardens would be threatened under the redevelopment proposals. (The Waterfront Action Group has NEVER said this). Both of these suggestions are completely untrue and in fact the areas involved are not even part of the Conygar Stenas ownership.
(The Waterfront Action Group is well aware of the ownership of the land and has only commented on the area of the proposed development. We have never commented on the Coastguard Station and the allotments. See below for a full explanation*).
Holyhead Town Council resolved to support the application for the economic benefits it would bring to the town of Holyhead and surrounding area. The Town Council were well aware of public concerns as regards the future of the Newry Greens and wanted to ensure that they would always be preserved and that the public would keep the same access rights and facilities that they have always enjoyed. Conygar Stena Line already own the freehold of the Newry Greens which are leased to Ynys Mon Council and therefore are entering into discussions with the Council to explore the possibility of obtaining a surrender of the Councils interest. This surrender would be conditional on the then transfer of the freehold to the Holyhead Town Council after agreed landscape works had been carried out including the reinstatement of the marine lake and sunken garden if required with an agreement in place to ensure the future maintenance at no cost to the Council.
In essence the surrender of land by Ynys Mon Council and subsequent transfer to Holyhead Town Council would therefore secure the publics use of the greens . We would yet again emphasise that it is an outline planning application which has been approved. We will in working up a detailed planning application, seek where possible to address the public comments that have been made in respect of the layout, the visual impact and public accessibility and other matters.
* The area of land indicated by the Town Clerk (shaded in red) is only a proportion of the full area covered by the sublease that Anglesey County Council holds (until 2025). This shaded area is the area that the Town Council has REQUESTED be transferred to their ownership.
The full area covered by the said sublease is shown below (within the area outlined in red). As can be seen, the full area of the sublease includes the promenade and the beach. It is the promenade and the beach areas that Conygar Stena want to exploit as part of their development. Make no mistake about it. There could be a privatised concrete curtain of building over this area. There will be NO Newry Beach as we know it in its present form.
The plan below shows the entire area within which Conygar Stena wants to develop, as shown in their original proposal.
The issue of the transfer of ownership of the greens at Newry Beach will be posted here at a later date.