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We are dismayed that Gwynedd Council’s planning committee has yesterday (2 September) approved a pump-storage power-station on common land at Glyn Rhonwy quarry above Llanberis, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park.
In objecting, we called on Gwynedd Council to ensure the developer, The Quarry Battery Co Ltd from London, was aware that works cannot be constructed on common land without the consent of the environment minister, in addition to any planning permission.
We pointed out that the applicant needs to offer common land in exchange for the land to be taken, and that the exchange land must be at least as beneficial to the neighbourhood and the public (section 16 of the Commons Act 2006) and have the environment minister’s approval. The alternative is to obtain the minister’s consent for works on common land under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 but, as this is a substantial development, that is unlikely to be sufficient.
We are angry that the council has ignored our advice. The paper to the planning committee is inaccurate since it refers to the long out-of-date Law of Property Act 1925.
We fear that this development will have an adverse effect on this sensitive landscape, on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, and on people’s enjoyment of it. It is used extensively by walkers and climbers.
We are appalled that Gwynedd Council planners apparently do not know the current law which safeguards common land. We shall write to the developer to ensure it understands that it must provide suitable common land in exchange—for the public and for the graziers. Deplorably, there was no mention of common land in the principal documents accompanying the application. The applicant seems to place little value on the rights of the public or the local farmers.