Councillors Approve Bryher Accommodation After Support From Islanders

south hill garden cottageCouncillors have gone against the recommendations of planning officers and approved new holiday accommodation on Bryher after residents spoke up in favour of it.

Marian Bennett who lives at South Hill wants to convert one of the buildings on the site, the Garden Cottage, from staff accommodation to a holiday let.

Marian, who is a councillor, did not take part in the discussions and left the meeting.

She’s currently selling the property and one of the conditions of the new buyers is that they can increase the number of visitor lets from two to three.

Planners recommended refusing the application because the current Council policy says new, self-contained holiday accommodation can only form part of a farm or improve the quality of existing tourist offerings.

But planning officer Lisa Walton read out an email received from a Bryher resident, saying they had held a public meeting on Bryher with Duchy Land Steward Chris Gregory at which the majority of the island’s households attended.

All 19 homeowners were in favour of the application and a further 5 who couldn’t attend also indicated their support.

Lisa said the overwhelming response was that there was “delight” that another family want to come and live and invest on the island

It was also pointed out that four visitor beds were being lost at Samson Cottage and another one-bedroom self catering unit was going back to use as a family home.

Cllr Mike Nelhams said he supported the application because the people on Bryher were obviously in favour of it and they should support new families who want to move there.

Cllr Adrian Davis agreed, saying, “we need to be ruled by our heart and support off island habitation.”

Cllr Mollie Peacock said she’s lived on St Agnes for many years, and only farmers seemed to be able to get anything done. She says it’s difficult for newcomers and supported the application.

But Cllr Richard McCarthy sounded a note of caution. He said there were good planning reasons to turn it down and it was “dangerous” going against the policy.

Richard said there were clearly islanders on Bryher who wanted to see an exception made but “if you let something very near the margin through, you’re likely to let a large elephant through the same hole.”

Councillors voted to approve the scheme.

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