|Beaumaris Marina: Closing Statement|
THESE PAGES HAVE NOT BEEN UPDATED SINCE 2007 AND THE INFORMATION ON THEM SHOULD NOT BE RELIED ON. THEY ARE RETAINED FOR ARCHIVE PURPOSES AND WILL BE REPLACED WHEN APPROPRIATE.
Ynys Môn County Council
Anglesey Boat Company
1.1 The Submissions have been submitted on a topic basis.
1.2 The call in letter identified, as one topic, the effect on marine life, the Special Protection Area and the proposed Marine Nature Reserve. That is dealt with under our sections headed Ecology and Fisheries.
1.3 The other 4 topics detailed at the Pre-Inquiry Meeting are considered in the order of;
1.4 Finally, we have added a short conclusion section.
2 THE ECOLOGY ISSUE
2.1 Apart from the comprehensive data in the E.S. reports, the principal evidence before the Inquiry is;
i)ABC Proofs of Dr Conlan
2.2 A large number of ecological issues were addressed. As at the end of the evidence, it was common ground between ABC, YMCC and CCW that the only outstanding concern was in respect of only certain "features" of the SPA. It was specifically agreed that no adverse effects would result in respect of the proposed Marine Nature Reserve.
2.3 In summary, and subject to the above qualification;
i) The site is substantially degraded in terms of its biotope by virtue of the mussel fishery and its dredging activities.
ii) No adverse impacts to any ecological interests of any significance should result from either the construction or operation of the marina.
iii) In order to provide confidence as to the above then necessary planning conditions and an appropriate S.106 agreement are essential.
2.4 In those circumstances it is not considered necessary in these closing submissions to repeat or analyse most of the relevant evidence. Should there be any possible concerns arising from the terms of the evidence presented by Mr Ratcliffe then these are fully and adequately answered by Dr Conlan's Supplementary Proof (ABC 3/3).
2.5 The lingering issue is in respect of the SPA. This featured very late in the day as a "concern" (CCW) or an objection (RSPB) and is related to potential effects on 2 bird species, the Great Crested Grebe (the grebe) and the Red Breasted Meganser duck (the duck). It is important in this context to identify the alleged potential harm. It is described as being the possibility that the movement of boats in and out of the marina, especially at low tide, might disturb the birds; that disturbance might lead to the species moving to areas occupied by other birds; that this might increase density beyond optimal levels for feeding and roosting areas; that this might in turn "depress viability".
2.6 An analysis of the issue requires consideration of a number of matters, including the significance of the relevant grebe and duck; the relationship of the marina to the SPA; the nature and extent of the SPA; the density habits of the birds; the likelihood of disturbance; the likely consequences of disturbance; and the relevance of the marina. In addition reference to the policy and regulatory framework is necessary.
2.7 This bird does not even feature in the A list of the Directive on Conservation of Wild Birds. It is not specifically protected as a species. The moulting birds come from other parts of N. Wales and N.W. England. The recorded presence is of significant numbers(over 400). In a study specific to Traeth Lafan (Dare & Schofield) they are identified as being found in the "open sea" habitat, "off Llanfairfechan and at high tide off Aber" and seen also at the Ogwen estuary. They are fish eaters. Their "main feeding area is on the sea at Llanfairfechan" where they form "roosting rafts between there and Aber at high water .... A few fish regularly in the Ogwen Estuary with occasional (our underlining) birds elsewhere in Conwy Bay and the Menai Straits". The distribution map makes it clear that the incidence of moulting birds is on the open sea.
2.8 It only appears on the Directive list as one of the ducks that can be hunted in certain EU member states. Its moulting birds are said to be local to other parts of North Wales. The moulting recorded presence is of significant numbers (up to 440). Like the grebe they are open sea birds found in the same places i.e. Llanfairfechan, Ogwen and Aber but also in brackish waters of the rivers and streams. The main feeding area is Llanfairfechan and Ogwen estuary and they also form roosting rafts there and near Aber. Only a "scattering"(our underlining) are found elsewhere in Conway Bay and the Straits. The distribution map confirms this. They are strong swimmers and divers, just as are the Grebe and can easily avoid sailing vessels.
2.9 The SPA is a very large area - some 2700Ha. It contains 98 species of birds, and one of its most important ornithological feature is the large number of waders in passage. It is located in and is very close to a very busy navigation route with present and historical traffic by boats of all kinds and at all states of the tide.
2.10 The marina site is not within the SPA.
2.11 The appropriate conclusion is that the effect of the marina on these birds will be minimal, and probably not even noticeable. The following evidence supports that conclusion;
i) The available evidence shows that the populations of both birds is strong. Had it been different one would have expected either CCW or the RSPB to have been demonstrating otherwise through their work and, in the case of CCW, the proper discharge of its statutory responsibilities long before this Inquiry. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that any of these birds are at risk or in decline.
ii) There is no suggestion that the Straits do not continue to be a rich source of food for fish eating birds or that the food is in any way limited.
iii) Both birds already demonstrate their preferred habitat to be open sea and well away from the marina by a distance of several miles. That open sea area is, relative to the bird numbers, extremely extensive.
iv) The birds are very well used to boat traffic and, on the evidence, have adapted to that environment and its different users. This is not surprising since the channel is still very wide in relative terms to the size of the craft and the birds. The equable relationship between boats and birds existed long before the area was designated SPA.
v) If any birds occupy the low water channel anywhere near the marina (and there is no firm evidence of that) then they are either "occasional" or a "scattering". To the extent that a few may do so then it is entirely consistent with their acceptance and tolerance of sailing and motorised boats.
vi) Even in the very worst case scenario of the few birds deciding to move to join the majority in the open sea areas north/east of the Straits or in the Ogwen, then the relationship between the modest numbers and the huge expanse of water available to them makes it extremely unlikely that a shortage of food will become a relevant factor. It is difficult to appreciate how self evident this point is until a visitation is made to the Strait on a boat. This is a case where a site and area visit is very important.
Policy - Regulations
2.12 I turn to the policy and regulatory aspects.
i) Policy. The PGW(1st Revn) policy is to ensure that, as far as possible, statutory designated sites are protected from damage and destruction. The emphasis is on whether a proposal will be likely to cause "significant harm" to the SPA.
ii) Regulation. The Habitats Regulation 1994 requires the LPA to consider whether a project is "likely to have a significant effect on a European site" and if it does to require "an appropriate assessment" (Reg 48(1)(a)). In circumstances where no significant effect is likely then no assessment is required.
2.13 In the present case, the policy objectives are fully respected by the form and nature of the proposal, with appropriate safeguarding conditions and obligations. Further, the LPA has had the advantage of an ES and full consultation and also heard the evidence, and is now satisfied that no harm (let alone significant) harm is likely to be caused to the habitat that is provided by the SPA or to the objectives it seeks to achieve. That is a proper conclusion based upon the evidence.
2.14 I apologise for spending so much time on what is, in truth,a late and opportunistic reference to a minor issue, but do so as it is the only one now identified (not as an objection, but a "concern") by the CCW. In the event the likely result is, as indicated by Dr Holt in his question of Mr Ratcliffe, that if an occasional grebe or meganser does not like being close to the marina then there are other vast areas of water available to it nearby. No threat whatsoever is posed to the habitat or habits or continuance of either bird.
3 THE FISHERIES ISSUE
3.1 The principal evidence before the Inquiry is the following;
i) ABC Proofs from Prof Muir
ii) SFC Written Submission
iii) Mussel Fisheries Statement
iv) Andrew Wilson Statement
v) Dr Eric Edwards Statement
vi) Oral evidence of Prof Muir, Trevor Jones and Andrew Wilson
3.2 The fisheries concern is limited to the complaint expressed on behalf of the local mussel industry as to potential adverse effects of the marina.
3.3 The key issues for the Inquiry on this point are;
i) To what extent will the marina adversely affect the fishery.
ii) Is that effect sufficiently harmful to outweigh the economic benefits of the marina.
The Factual Position
3.4 This is set out in detail in the written evidence. It is not repeated here recognising, however, that some of the evidence differed markedly when tested by questioning. Important facts resulted from the opportunity to hear and examine some of the witnesses and helped to resolve the apparent inconsistency between parts of the written evidence. Prof Muir's proofs, in setting out some actual data, obliged the local industry to respond by producing at least some of the figures that had previously been denied to us and the Inquiry.
3.5 The relevant factual evidence disclosed;
i) The fishery is divided into areas, leased to 4/5 lessees.
ii) All the leases fall in during 2002, probably in April.
iii) All the leases are expressly subject to the rights reserved to the Crown and other owners by the 1962 Order
iv) There is no right of renewal, so that, not later than 4/2002, the SFC has a completely free hand to organise and let off the fishery as it considers appropriate.
v) The fishery covers a very large area, some 761ha, of which Area 4 is by far the smallest at c.30ha.
vi) The only lay directly affected by the marina is Area 4. Approx. 5 Ha of that Area would be occupied by the marina.
vii) The lays at Areas 1,2,3 and 5 operate independently of Area 4. Each contains inter-tidal parts which are used for seeding and hardening off mussels, before being relayed elsewhere within the lay.
viii) There is no linkage between the various lessees in terms of the operation of their individual businesses. Thus, there is no sharing of equipment or purchase/sale elements of the businesses.
ix) Area 4 is used for seeding and hardening off mussels, before their removal to Area 6. Only part of Area 4 is so used, and only part of that seeded area is within the marina footprint. Mr Wilson states that the total seeding area is between 5 - 8 Ha, but it is clear that a significant part of that is outside Area 4, on the adjoining, non-Order, Baron Hill land. Drawing the most reasonable and fair conclusion from his oral evidence then either he or his company (Deepdock) use between 3 and 4.8 Ha of Area 4, of which a part would be taken by the marina (say at most 4ha or so).
x) Seed mussels are placed directly on Area 6 from other than Area 4. There are some inter-tidal parts to Area 6 which can be used for hardening (approximately 12ha), and also mussels hardened elsewhere (in this case Holyhead and in the Burry Port estuary) are placed in Area 6. For example, between April to October 1999 some 625 tonnes of non Area 4 mussels were laid on Area 6.
xi) The lays are not used to their full potential. Thus, for Area 5 the lessee, Mr T Jones used less than 1 Ha of the 5/6 Ha available to him of the inter tidal area suitable for seeding and hardening off. He confirmed that a similar position appertained in respect of all the other lays.
xii) The principally relevant factor for increased production is the quantity of seed laid, and not any constraint resulting from the shortage of area for hardening off. This was confirmed by Mr Jones' answer to a question from Dr Holt and is exemplified by the production levels for the mid 1990's following the huge "spat" on Caernarvon Bar.
xiii) Insofar as the operation of Areas 4 & 6 are concerned;
xiv) The lessees are seeking assistance by way of grant aid to develop a more integrated, comprehensive and profitable approach to the fishery.
3.6 The results which can be appropriately drawn from this evidence are;
i) Relevance of Area 4
ii) Area 4/6 Business
iii) Production from Area 6
iv) Other areas
Conclusion on main issues
3.7 i) The appropriate conclusion is that the use of part of Area 4 for the marina is of very limited relevance to the fishery, which is perfectly capable of continuing (even in its present form) as a productive fishery. It is not of significance in economic, employment or productivity terms.
ii) To the extent that a comparison of the respective merits or disbenefits of the effect on the fishery and the economic benefits of the fishery is necessary, then the advantages are overwhelmingly positive in favour of the marina.
Construction and Operational
3.8 These are dealt with separately because of points made on specific issues. No real complaint is made as to the effects of construction of the marina, provided it is executed in accordance with the conditions in any consent and the terms of an appropriate S.106 Agreement. However, the issue of sewage from boat owners has been raised and is said to be potentially harmful. It is, of course, a possible problem recognised by the statutory consultees having responsibility for water quality. The Environment Agency is satisfied that the matter can be adequately and sufficiently regulated. The same issue arises in respect of all the other marinas around the coastline, several of which are close to shellfisheries - and there is nothing in policy or guidance that indicates that it is inappropriate to grant consent subject to conditions. It is a case of ensuring proper management of the marina and the provision of good facilities. There is nothing to suggest that the present proposal is in any way unusual not equally susceptible to proper and safe operation, backed up by monitoring.
3.9 i) The written representation adds nothing to the debate as to the relevance of Area 4. If anything, because of the absence of any validated figures, and the evidence which was given at the Inquiry, the representation has been demonstrated to be mistaken in its assertion as to the linkage between Area 4 and 6 and, indeed, the other areas and the alleged importance of Area 4. This is clearly not the case and the Inquiry evidence shows otherwise.
ii) It is very clear that the fishery is not being used to full advantage and that productivity could be significantly increased by a more integrated apportionment of responsibility and by comprehensive management of the resource. In terms of increased productivity (if consistent with ecological concerns) it would be good to see the SFC taking positive action to enhance the resource - there is certainly plenty of scope for it to do so and even without looking to extend to areas outside the present Order.
iii) The SFC also seems, in parts of its evidence, to suggest that there are legal reasons in the way of the marina proceedings. This is not correct, either in the context of the planning legislation or in the context of the marina being built. We address the following summary submission on this;
3.10 There is nothing new in this objection that is not covered in previous evidence and submissions.
3.11 i) The individual fishery interests will not be materially affected by the marina in terms of its outputs, value, employment generation or scope for greater efficiency and productivity.
ii) The overall fishery interest represented by the total Order land will not be materially harmed by the marina. Indeed, there is scope for significant improvement, irrespective of the present proposal.
iii) To the extent that comparative benefits and disbenefits have to be assessed, the greater public advantage is very clearly with the development of the marina.
4 THE VISUAL LANDSCAPE ISSUE
4.1 The principal evidence is set out in the following;
i) ABC Proofs of Mary O'Connor
ii) CCW Proofs of Mr Edwards
iii) Oral evidence of O'Connor and Edwards
4.2 This issue is dealt with as discrete from the policy aspect relating to AONB designation - that being addressed in our Planning Policy Submissions.
4.3 The most important constituents of the disagreement between the landscape witnesses relate to the following;
i) The significance of the site in landscape terms
ii) The visibility of the site from relevant locations
iii) The extent to which the marina will be visible
iv) Whether the appearance of the marina will be visually detrimental and, if so, to what extent.
The Visibility and Landscape Significance of the Site
4.4 To the extent that the two expert witnesses disagree on these points then the assessment of Mary O'Connor is to be preferred. She has been engaged in evaluating the matter for a considerable time and in depth, having been responsible for the environmental assessment - see the March 1999 report and the October 1999 Supplementary Report. The analysis is thorough - the visibility zones identified in ABC 2-2 are not disputed by CCW.
4.5 The main factors supporting that conclusion are;
i) The site is low-lying, being mainly a sloping inter-tidal beach
ii) The striking features are outside of the site, being
iii) It is only those features that can be seen clearly in views from the mainland - not the site itself
iv) In terms of close views, it is common ground that the site can not be seen from Beaumaris. From very close to the site it can be seen, i.e. the A545; the lay-by adjoining the site and/or the Strait.
v) The site has no particular or distinguishing quality or feature even from those close locations. The significant views, and that which catches the eye, are over the site to the greater landscape beyond, i.e. Snowdonia and the mainland.
4.6 The appropriate conclusion is that the site itself is not particularly visible in the greater landscape, and that it is not especially visible other than from very close views. When the site is set in its context the point is reinforced. Its juxtaposition to the boatyard and pfs comprising extensive commercial developments and sizeable buildings together with the intervisibility between those elements confirms the point that the site cannot be divorced in character or appearance from the existing features.
Significance of the site - Assessment
4.7 The assessment of the site's visual significance has some relationship to its visibility. It also depends on the adoption of meaningful objective criteria to make that assessment, as well as the exercise of judgement. The landscape witnesses disagree on its classification - whether it is "good" (M O'Connor) or "high" (R Edwards). In respect of that disagreement we respectfully invite the conclusion that O'Connor's judgement is to be preferred since;
i) In making the assessment she has relied on nationally adopted guidelines published by the Landscape Institute and, as recently as June 2000, commended by the Landscape Institute to a Parliamentary Sub-Committee, as the appropriate up to date methodology.
ii) The guidelines are designed to provide an objective qualitative assessment of a site in absolute terms.
iii) Her conclusion on the application of these guidelines is not disputed by Mr.Edwards.
iv) The reliance of CCW (and Mr.Edwards) on a different document is, frankly, bizarre. Firstly, it does not purport to be a qualitative analysis but one dealing with "relative" values of different parts of Anglesey (see CD- page 10, para 9.2). Secondly, it does not adopt the Landscape Institute guidelines or approach, something which the Vice Chairmen of the Landscape Institute might have been expected to support. Thirdly, it is not designed to provide an assessment of individual sites but only of broadly similar "bands" or "areas". Fourthly, no good reason is provided as to why the Landscape Institute guidelines should not be adopted.
4.8 In addition to M O'Connor's assessment methodology being preferred, we further invite the conclusion that the site itself is not significant in the landscape. It is pleasant, but not in any sense out of the ordinary. It is of no special or unusual value in the wider landscape or, indeed, in local terms.
4.9 CCW make a point about the functional significance of the site as a "transition" between the urban edge and the more rural coastline immediately beyond and to the west. It is implicit in that description that the site itself is not undisturbed coastline or unaffected by the Gallows Point development. Nowhere do CCW claim it to have a particular visual significance - a point reinforced by Mr.Edwards' replies to one of the Inspector's questions.
The visibility of the marina
4.10 The area of debate on this issue is quite narrow, as CCW conceded that the "more important views" are those local to the site. Any visibility of the marina from the mainland and from Beaumaris is fairly illustrated in the views shown in ABC 2-5 to 2-9 and 2-12. Mr.Edwards did not question the quality, reliability or value of these illustrations. They demonstrate that the features introduced by the marina are low lying and run broadly parallel to the existing coastline; are contained on two sides by existing and more elevated landforms and developments; and are part of a large scale landscape. In particular, the steeply rising woodland, at a much higher elevation, is the dominant visual element. It is a proper conclusion that the marina will not be that visible and certainly not discordant, from views outside of the lay-by and the Strait.
4.11 From viewpoints on land close to the marina, and certainly from the boat yard, the lay-by and the adjoining stretch of the A545, the marina will, of course, be clearly seen - just as one sees Beaumaris Castle when standing next to it. The view will be of a marina. Such a development is perfectly acceptable - many find them interesting, attractive and a source of great interest. They are inherently and generally acceptable in a coastal location, especially when next to an existing and sizeable boat yard and marine business, including a retail outlet. Indeed, Mr.Edwards confirmed that such a development was, in principle, entirely appropriate. He "supported" a marina in Beaumaris Bay. There is nothing unusual about this marina or its location such as to make it patently unsuitable. It is a development that should be perfectly acceptable.
4.12 As for views from the Strait, these are limited to those in boats, as there is no public access onto the beach at the western or southern boundaries. Unless a boat passes very close to the breakwater then the perception would be of a marine related structure no higher than the natural promontory of Gallows Point and set against a dominant and steeply elevated backcloth. It the boat is very close to a breakwater when the tide is in, the height of the breakwater is not a matter of significance.
Will the marina be visually detrimental?
4.13 It is respectfully suggested that, drawing on the matters above, as well as the reasons that follow, the marina will cause no visual harm to the landscape. In particular:
i) A marina is not, in itself, unpleasant or unsightly. In fact it can be very interesting to both users and the public.
ii) The loss of inter-tidal area is not of visual importance in the context of its replacement by a marina.
iii) The view across the site from the lay-by will, of course, be altered. However, the principal features in that view are the Strait and the grandeur of Snowdonia. Both views will remain, albeit in places through and over the tops of boat masts - which is not unsightly.
iv) In the context of its relationship to adjoining areas, the marina is compatible. The enclosure provided by the road boundary and Gallows Point will ensure a sense of containment with existing physical forms.
v) No-one coming to the area and seeing the marina will find it unusual or discordant. It will be an extremely pleasant sight as one emerges from the wooded section of the A545.
Does material harm result from the loss of existing views?
4.14 The appropriate conclusion is that none of any significance will be lost since;
i) Much of the existing view will remain, particularly that beyond the far breakwater to the near side of the Strait and Snowdonia.
ii) The public, and very many more of them, can enjoy new views from the top of the breakwaters and over the Strait to the mainland.
iii) Similar views to those from the lay-by, but without the intervention of the marina, can be enjoyed from any number of locations in and near Beaumaris.
4.15 The opinion set out in M.O'Connor's evidence is sound. Her appraisal in Section 5 of ABC 2 is supported by the evidence and can be accepted.
5 THE HIGHWAY ISSUE
5.1 The principal evidence is set out in the following;
i) Ynys Môn CC Proofs
ii) Menai Bridge Civic Society
iii) Friends of the Earth
iv) Oral evidence
5.2 The issues raised by objectors are in respect of;
i) The capacity of the A545
ii) Congestion / safety through Menai Bridge
iv) Junction design as it affects landscaping
v) Street lighting
5.3 The greater length of the A545 from Menai Bridge (MB) to Beaumaris (B) has a capacity of 13,000 vpd. The assessed reduction to 10,000 vpd for the Gazelle to B stretch is judgemental but not shown to be unreasonable. There is no history of long queuing on this stretch or of problems normally associated with a road that is operating at over capacity. This confirms the evidence of YMCC that the road is operating at well within capacity and, on the latest traffic count figures, at no more than 55% of that capacity. The development generated traffic has been variously estimated but nowhere at more than 800 vpd. The spare capacity, including that figure remains significant. A proper conclusion is that the development traffic will not adversely or materially affect the capacity of the A545 or any other road.
5.4 Reference is made by FoE to national traffic growth figures. However, even in their higher estimate the total figure in 10 years time is still well under 10,000vpd. In any event, it is not national policy to plan on the basis of traffic growth and certainly not to inhibit development because of the potential for growth in the future. If problems do in fact arise then they can and will be dealt with at that stage - although there is no basis for assuming in the present case that there will be any such problem.
Congestion at MB
5.5 The incremental effect of the development is likely to be modest. If free flow through the town needs to be improved then a number of obvious traffic management procedures are available - in particular removing on-street parking. Concern about the effect of the occasional trailer and boat passing through MB simply reflects a feature of a location such as this and the effects are generally short-lived. If the load is too sizeable, then police support procedures would be adopted to time and accompany the vehicles. This also applies to any very heavy construction traffic. it is a proper conclusion that the effects of the proposal on traffic/congestion in MB are unlikely to be detrimental.
5.6 It has not been possible to compare the accident record by reference to national averages. However, on the basis of the known information, any problems do not appear to be related either to congestion at MB or the capacity of the A545. The highway authority has already taken some steps to better inform motorists of the nature and potential dangers of the road. Further steps can be taken in due course, if in fact ever required, such as reducing speed limits on the stretch beyond MB to B; or other traffic calming measures by signage or lights. In any event, there is no basis for concluding that the additional traffic from the development will materially affect the issue of safety on the A545.
Marina / A545 Junction
5.7 The preference is for a 40mph limit and an appropriate junction designed to that main road speed. It will not add a discordant feature and will improve safety by the installation of a right turning lane. If, however unlikely and for whatever reason, the junction has to be designed to a 60mph limit, the 'Y' distance would be assessed by reference to the 85° results and an 'X' set back of 4.5m would be acceptable to the highway authority (for better 40mph and 60mph limits).
5.8 The provision of street lighting at the junction will cause no harm. It is to be remembered that there is an existing junction nearby for a busy pfs. Additionally, the backdrop of wooded areas to the A545 and the use of modern downlighting lamps will assist to contain any light spillage.
5.9 It is proper to conclude that the evidence demonstrates that no highway movement, safety or environmental problems will result from traffic related aspects of the proposal.
6 THE POLICIES ISSUE
6.1 The principal evidence is set out in the following;
i) Ynys Môn County Council
ii) Anglesey Boat Company
iv) Oral evidence of the witnesses
6.2 The evidence of CCW on this topic is limited in scope to consideration of national policies. Unfortunately, the applicable provisions of PGW(1999) were misread and the assistance afforded by Mr Edwards' evidence is, accordingly, limited. The Inquiry may conclude that greater assistance is afforded by Mr Jones and Mr Woodcock.
6.3 The central issue is whether the proposal is either in the national interest or that there is an absence of an alternative site. In either of those circumstances it may be appropriate to grant planning permission, albeit that the development is sited in an AONB.
6.4 The logic of the AONB policies is that the alternative site is not subject to the same policy constraint as the proposed location i.e. not in the AONB. Otherwise the provision is meaningless. It is also implicit that the alternative (a) must be in a location that is reasonably capable of performing the same role as the proposed site and (b) is genuinely available and viable. In this case the relevant area was agreed by the principal parties to be the East Menai Strait and, logically , those parts outside the AONB. The selection of that area is reasonable given the evidence as to the functional requirements for a marina in this area as part of a "chain" of such facilities serving North Wales.
6.5 Some 10 sites were examined. None were found to be proper alternatives - being disqualified for good reasons in each case. The supplementary evidence of Mr Jones deals in some detail with the possible alternatives referred to and preferred by some objectors, viz, Hirael Bay. That evidence demonstrates that, despite extensive investment, and a variety of real and advanced joint schemes over the last 20 year, it is not a viable alternative and cannot be considered as a realistic site for a marina development. This conclusion is confirmed by the absence of any promotion of that site by either CCW or SFC or the Mussel consortium.
6.6 At the Inquiry both CCW (Mr Edwards) the musselmen and various objectors, promoted a site in Beaumaris Bay. The suggestion is, frankly, not a true alternative, since;
i) It is within the AONB, and the first question raised will be whether an alternative site exists. It is a self perpetuating conundrum when Gallows Point is a clearly identified alternative, enjoying the benefit of owner and developer support.
ii) It suffers the added disadvantage of being part of the setting andimmediately adjoining a conservation area and in circumstances where it would be difficult to conclude that it could "enhance" and "preserve" the character of that area. In fact its presence would at a stroke blight the integrity of Beaumaris wide natural bay, the essential setting for the built development. A marina at the proposed site would not have that effect, leaving Beaumaris Bay without development and yet providing an ancillary coastal facility that would be perceived as part of the town.
iii) No developer is supporting the proposal and it has no commercial backing and the LPA is firmly against it (Mr Woodcock in his evidence stated that the Beaumaris Bay suggestion is not an alternative in the terms of local and national policy guidance).
6.7 The other criteria for an assessment are set out in para 5.3.8 (PGW) and are considered elsewhere in these submissions. The evidence supports the conclusion that those criteria should all be decided in such a way as to support the proposal and the grant of permission.
6.8 Mr Powys Jones has drawn attention to the fact that, on behalf of the applicant, he is unable to identify with sertaintythe applicable tests for evaluating whether the proposal is in the national interest, as interpreted for the purposes of para 5.3.8 of PGW. Whatever the position of ABC on this point, Ynys Mon CC believe very strongly that the grant of permission is fully justified on the basis that it would be of "proven national interest". We rely upon the following:
i) The creation of employment in Anglesey is a critical requirement for the Council and the local community, and is supported by national policies and initiatives.
ii) The number and type of jobs likely to be created, together with a wider economic stimulus for the revitalisation of the Lairds site, is sufficient to be meaningful in all Wales terms.
iii) The failure of other initiatives, and of assisted area status, make it important to have some initiatives developed in Anglesey.
iv) The contribution of the marina to wider effects by linkage to other marinas and the assembly of a series of sites along the North Wales coast and across to Ireland, is a strategic development in a fast growing leisure industry.
Development Plan Policies
6.9 The evidence of Mr Woodcock is commended as the basis for evaluation. It is considered that policies CH13 and CH15 are satisfied in the particular circumstances of this proposal and for the reasons given. Mr Woodcock's evidence was not challenged.
6.10 If, contrary to YMCC's view, it was considered that the proposal did not accord with the development plan policies, then other material considerations fully justify a departure from those policies and the rebutting of any presumption against.
6.11 For these purposes we also rely upon the conclusions which are invited on the other issues that have been highlighted by the National Assembly and the Inspector. The relevant circumstances identify the proposal as one of those exceptional cases where it is entirely appropriate, and in the overall public interest, to permit a development in an AONB.
7 THE LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AND TOURISM ISSUE
7.1 The principal evidence is set out in the following;
i) ABC Proofs of Mr E H Davies
ii) YMCC Proofs of Mr Lloyd
iii) Friends of the Earth
iv) SFC written representations
v) Mr. Trefor Jones
vi) Mr. Andrew Wilson
vii) Oral evidence of witnesses
7.2 The main issues are;
i) Whether the proposed marina will provide local employment and, if so, to what extent
ii) Does the proposed have other economic benefits and, in particular, in the context of tourism
iii) Whether there are any likely negative effects as it relates to the mussel industry
iv) Whether the appearance of the marina will be visually detrimental and, if so, to what extent.
7.3 It is necessary and helpful to place the issue in context. The evidence of Mr.Lloyd and Mr.Davies was unchallenged as to the current desperate needs of Anglesey for new jobs and an effective regeneration strategy. We do not set out the evidence here, as it was not in dispute, but simply highlight the unacceptably high rates of unemployment, especially among young people; the low per capita income levels; the lack of employment opportunities; depopulation; and the relative lack of success of assisted area status and other well meant initiatives. Through its economic agency, the WDA, the National Assembly has made it clear that Anglesey is seen as a priority case for regeneration to improve the lot of its people.
7.4 The likely direct and indirect consequences of the marina are detailed in Mr Davies' evidence. The evidence was not seriously challenged. The only conflicting evidence is contained in the written representations of SFC. The unacceptability of its assessment is demonstrated by Mr Davies' supplementary evidence. Thus, to the extent that there is any conflict, the Inspector is invited to conclude that Mr. Davies is to be preferred, and that the figures set out in ABC1 are properly researched; founded on a good comparable; rationalised succinctly; confirmed by other reputable and experienced sources of economic projections, and can be accepted by the National Assembly.
7.5 We highlight the following benefits:-
i) A total of at least 76 jobs, directly referable to the marina and the marine industry.
ii) A total of at least 72 spin off jobs in the service industries locally
iii) The injection of at least £2m p.a general expenditure in the local area from marina users
iv) The wages and related benefits that will come with the jobs
v) An unquantified but significant value will attach to the marina operation by way of berthing charges etc.
vi) A range of jobs, including those requiring engineering and marine expertise, proper training, apprenticeships and. for some, higher qualifications
vii) The take-up of under-used and vacant business sites (such as Lairds) for new marine related enterprises.
7.6 Much of Anglesey's income depends on tourism. It is identified as one of the industries that has scope for much greater development. The marina helps fulfil that need. The evidence of Mr. Davies and the public, many of them expert and knowledgeable in this aspect, made clear the wider benefits of a new and necessary link in a chain of marinas along the coast. This is regarded as a key location and the added value and spin offs are likely to be very positive in a major growth sector of the leisure and tourism industry.
7.7 It has been suggested by the mussel representatives that there is insufficient land close to the marina to take advantage of all the likely benefits. However, the adjoining ABC yard has space and is known to be operating at an employment level a third of that 25 years ago; Dickies yard in nearby Bangor is seeking work because of the decline in the local marine industry and reduced visitation by boats; and the old Lairds site is vacant and being promoted by way of a joint venture scheme for a re-development which will include purpose built business units. The picture, in fact, is of great scope for, and the ability to take full advantage of the economic benefits associated with the marina.
7.8 We respectfully suggest that the turn out and quality of evidence and representation at the evening public session was impressive. The Inquiry heard from experienced and knowledgeable people; from successful local businessmen to a strong trade union representation; from those steeped in knowledge of the marine and leisure industry; to those with great local knowledge; and nearly all passing on the message of the need for jobs, for re-vitalisation. There will be great disappointment and frustration among the vast majority of the public if this one valuable opportunity is not grasped.
7.9 For reasons set out in our submissions on the fisheries issue, it has not been shown that Mr.Wilson's or any of his various companies viability or employment levels will be adversely affected by the proposal. Indeed, adopting a wider public benefit and objective approach to the issue, the evidence points strongly to the scope for this industry to expand and increase its contribution to local employment
7.10 The economic case for the marina is overwhelming and substantial. It represents a significant opportunity for Beaumaris and Anglesey. It represents a sustainable form of development, founded upon the great maritime traditions and skills of the area.
8.1 The marina will bring considerable and meaningful economic benefits.
8.2 It will be a significant boost to the tourism industry of Anglesey and Wales.
8.3 It represents an Objective One opportunity for Wales.
8.4 There are no disbenefits in respect of highways; implications for the mussel industry; or any potential harm to ecological interests. The successful co-existence of marina users and the local ecology is demonstrated by historical association - no-one cares more for those valued interests than the local population.
8.5 As for landscape and visual issues, where better to develop the marina than in a relatively sheltered bay immediately adjoining an existing boatyard? There are no alternatives. There will be no material harm to the landscape. A well designed marina will be totally in conformity with the locality and its coastline.
8.6 The policy exceptions necessary to permit development in an AONB are made out. The benefits of the proposal are totally compatible with and deliver on the National Assembly's central policy of increasing the prosperity of Wales, especially in its more disadvantaged regions.
VERNON PUGH QC
The photograph at the top depicts Dr.Cecil Jones and diver Douglas McElvougie recovering peat samples from the deep hole off Gallows Point (outside the proposed site) as part of the continuing excersise to study the local archaeology and aquatic biology (Late summer 1999). If the marina gos ahead, this programme will continue and any artefacts found will be displayed on site.
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