Welsh ministers refuse private works on Aberdovey Common

20 September 2013

We are delighted that the Welsh ministers have refused consent to Mr J T Dudley to build a garage and boat store with ancillary development on Aberdovey Common in the Snowdonia National Park.

Although the national park authority approved the development in January, Mr Dudley needed the consent of the Welsh ministers for works on the common, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006. We objected because commons exist for public enjoyment and the works were for purely private purposes. The public has the right to walk and ride over the whole common.

Mr Alan Beckett, on behalf of the Welsh ministers, agreed with this view. He noted that ‘the purpose of the Commons Act 2006 is to safeguard commons for current and future generations to use and enjoy’. Works on common land are ‘generally only given consent when they maintain or improve the condition of the common or where they confer some wider benefit’. He considered that the construction of a private garage and boat store ‘will have an adverse impact upon the public interest in rights of access to the common as it reduces the area of the common which is available to the public for air and exercise.’

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘This is an excellent decision. It is vital to protect our unique commons for public enjoyment, especially when they are within a national park. We applaud Welsh ministers for standing up for common land against private interests.’