Multi-million pound plan for Eryri hotel which once attracted film stars rejected

A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to develop an Eryri hotel which once attracted celebrities like film star Angelina Jolie and supermodel Elle Macpherson has been rejected by Gwynedd planners.

Seiont Manor Hotel near Llanrug was also a popular venue with locals and visitors for its bar, swimming pool and as a wedding wedding venue, before it closed in January, 2020.

New owners Caernarfon Properties Ltd had hoped to breathe new life into the site by extending  the hotel and facilities and by building 39 holiday lodges.

The scheme also included provision for 43 parking places at the hotel and 13 beside an activity centre. Adding 33 bedrooms would taken its total to 61, and work was planned to extend the bar, restaurant and spa.

The developers said the scheme would add “a benefit” to the local economy and bring jobs to the area. It was recommended for approval by officers.

But councillors raised concerns over its size and scale when it went before Gwynedd Council planning committee on Monday, February 26.

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Cadnant Planning agent Rhys Davies said the latest plans had been amended following two years working with the planning department.

 Mr Davies said: “The local member raised concerns over the scale of the application but we can’t possibly develop the hotel on its own.”

Citing hotel closures across Gwynedd he added:  “This would benefit the local economy and create employment. Seiont Manor used to employ about 50 people under a previous employer, the last employer took that to about 30 – but the hotel had to close eventually.

“This scheme adds bedrooms to the hotel and creates holiday cabins so facilities can run.  It could provide about 30 full time jobs.”

But local member Cllr Beca Brown was concerned for the community and businesses. She said: “Llanrug is a large Welsh speaking village, proud of its local businesses owned by local people.

It had a “variety and diversity of businesses” and was a “very self sustaining community,” popular with visitors and holiday makers.

“If you consider the number of caravan and campsites, many are owned by local people, often family owned,  benefiting generations of those families,” she said.

“This could create jobs but what worries me, it could pose a challenge for our existing jobs. It could undermine local people’s incomes, it is the local businesses that are the backbone of the Welsh economy, rather than what happens with these developments.

“I haven’t encountered anyone local in favour. I had people at 9am knocking on my door to object.”

Cllr Berwyn Jones added: “Everyone wants to see Seiont reopen but this development’s scale is not appropriate.”

Cllr Gareth Jones agreed saying the hotel and pool was “already alright” and there were “several similar destinations within spitting distance”.

He doubted the “number and quality” of jobs, raised the issue of a “very narrow road and with an unsuitable access” and asked questions over whether the developer was local to the area.

Cllr Elin Hywel cited the scale as “not reasonable” and said she felt it might create a seasonal population by “people not immersed in the Welsh language”.

She added it was not a  “sustainable tourist development or anchored in the community” and might not provide all year round jobs.

She proposed objecting, seconded by Cllr Berwyn Jones, based on objections against the effects of over development, the impact on land and surrounding area, scale of cabins and hotel extension.

The committee voted 12 in favour and one against to object to  the scheme.

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