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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 13:05 GMT
Park holiday village plan backed
The proposed snow centre at Bluestone
Waterworld forms part of the planned 500-acre development
The Council for National Parks has lost its legal battle to stop a major holiday development in west Wales.

Last month, the High Court heard arguments for and against the 60m Bluestone scheme.

Bluestone would include a snow dome and a water park and 430 timber lodges, some of which would be built in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

Mr Justice Jack has ruled that the granting of outline planning permission by the park authority was not unlawful.

The Council for National Parks (CNP) had claimed there were flaws in the planning process and had argued that the Pembrokeshire park authority had disregarded its own policies when granting planning permission in January.

But the judge ruled there was no case of bias at a hearing in Swansea last month.

The challenge was a strong one and was powerfully presented
Ruth Chambers, Council for National Parks

The parks watchdog said it was seriously disappointed that its legal challenge had been thrown out.

"CNP considered that the challenge was a strong one and was powerfully presented by our legal team," said the watchdog's head of policy Ruth Chambers.

"The judgment is long and complex and raises a number of issues which require careful thought."

She added that the national parks body would consider the next step in its campaign in three weeks.

The Bluestone project was first put forward two-and-a-half years ago for a site near Narberth, neighbouring the Oakwood theme park, part of which falls on national park land.

The developers have said it will create 600 permanent jobs and a further 200 jobs for contractors and suppliers.

'Intense scrutiny'

William McNamara, chief executive of Bluestone, welcomed Friday's judgement, saying he believed that the village would be "an environmentally and economically beneficial project" for both Pembrokeshire and the national park.

"During the intense scrutiny of a lengthy planning process, this view has been independently upheld by members of Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council and Welsh Assembly Government," said Mr McNamara.

The Bluestone project will be a world-class operation which will take the tourism industry in the county into a new era
Councillor Rob Lewis
"Subsequently the ombudsman and now, finally, the High Court have examined that planning process and confirmed that it was properly conducted.

Mr McNamara said the firm was now looking forward to working positively with Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Pembrokeshire County Council and other stakeholders "to deliver this project and its many benefits to the people of Pembrokeshire".

Pembrokeshire councillor Rob Lewis said the ruling was "excellent news".

"The Bluestone Project will be a world-class operation which will take the tourism industry in the county into a new era.

There will be 600 high quality jobs which will be year-round."

Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies said he was very pleased that the project could take advantage of significant backing from the Welsh Assembly Government.

"With tourism being one of Wales' most important industries, this project will be a huge boost, both to the local economy and to the economy of Wales as a whole, by bringing much-needed jobs to Pembrokeshire and providing high quality leisure facilities for locals," he said.

"Once the project is underway, it will be also act as a catalyst to attract new business opportunities and inward investment into the area."


SEE ALSO:
Judgement reserved on Bluestone
25 Nov 04 |  South West Wales
Court fight starts over Bluestone
23 Nov 04 |  South West Wales
Holiday village starts jobs drive
08 Nov 04 |  South West Wales
Bellamy backs Bluestone fight
24 Apr 04 |  South West Wales
MP quits over Bluestone fight
28 Apr 04 |  South West Wales


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