CONTROVERSIAL plans for tourism accommodation described as looking like “giant golf balls” have been approved by Powys councillors.

On Thursday, June 6, Powys County Council’s Planning, Taxi Licensing and Rights of Ways committee received a retrospective planning application by Robert and Margaret Pownall for the siting of four “geodome” tents and four decking areas for outdoor baths and a barbecue area at Laburnum House, Brynmawr near Llanymynech.

The application also covers the formation of access pathways and car parking, toilet facilities, a sewage treatment plant and two passing places.

A previous planning application was refused by Powys planners in February but three of the geodomes are already sited there.

Cllr Arwel Jones, in whose ward the domes are sited, told the meeting: “There are many reasons to reject this application, impact on highways, parking, does not allow safe and efficient flow of traffic and landscaping to name a few.”

Cllr Arwel JonesCllr Arwel Jones

Llandysilio community council had also raised objections to the proposal and clerk Carol Davies said a scheme for three holiday lodges at Laburnum House had been approved in the past.

Mrs Davies said: “How can we stress enough that this is the maximum that should be allowed in this location due to the constraints of a narrow single track lane with limited passing places?”

Mrs Davies said: “No guaranteed location has been found for these (passing) bays.

“These domes appeared on our landscape as giant golf balls visible for many miles around, it is frankly ridiculous to suggest they can be coated in green paint and repainted every six months.


“What we have learnt over the last nine months is that the applicant does not comply with any enforcement or planning conditions.”

Planning agent for the Pownalls, Oliver Evans of Morris, Marshall and Poole explained that lessons had been learned from the previous application.

Mr Evans explained that the principle of development was acceptable in the application refused in February, but two other reasons for refusal had been addressed in the new application.

He said: “As there were concerns about the white golf ball look, we’re now proposing to paint them green which will be topped up every six months to blend the geodome tents into the landscape.

“We’ve looked to address the complaints about the increase of traffic with highways officers and propose to construct two passing bays.”

He added that they also now proposed improving the screening around the outdoor baths and the whole site with more planting of hedgerows.

Cllr Jonathan WilkinsonCllr Jonathan Wilkinson

Senior planning officer Kate Bowen believed that the alterations put forward by the applicants had “overcome” the reasons for past refusal and recommended that the proposal is given “conditional consent.”

Powys highway authority officer Simon Crew said the highways verges allowed space for the passing bays.

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson raised a “concern” that conditions would not be acted upon but was told by committee solicitor Rachel Moles that the decision must be made on the application's own merits irrespective of other matters.

A majority of nine councillors voted to approve the application while three councillors abstained.