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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 19:08 GMT
Building fury near Dylan's home
Landmark buildings
Ferry House and the Dylan Thomas Boathouse

There were angry scenes near Dylan Thomas' former home when councillors inspected landscaping works at a neighbouring 300-year-old property.

Protesters were furious that part of the foreshore and cliff face near The Boathouse, where the poet had written some of his best known work, had been altered without permission.

Planning committee members visited the site at Laugharne on Tuesday before considering a retrospective application for improved access to Ferry House, next to the landmark.

They were greeted by more than 30 people opposed to the plans, which were later passed.

Ferry House owner Eric Eynon began the work over Easter Bank Holiday last year.

The amount of work and the scale of work that was carried out is unfortunate
Stuart Owens

It was only stopped when Carmarthenshire Council issued an enforcement notice.

Alterations to the cliff face and track near the building, which attracts thousands of visitors every year, has remained partially completed ever since.

After the site visit councillors met in Carmarthen to discuss the situation and were told many of the alterations could not be reversed.

At some points as much as six metres of the cliff face had been removed.

The council's senior planning officer Stuart Owens said it was not illegal to carrying out work without planning consent.

Diane Jones
Diane Jones of Laugharne Civic Trust

"Were it an offence, this is an instance where it would have been pursued vigorously," he said.

"The amount of work and the scale of work that was carried out is unfortunate, and I choose my words carefully.

"Having said that, the work has been carried out - the worst possible scenario is to now leave it as it is," he added.

Councillors were told of a petition signed by 592 opposing Mr Eynon's plans.

Representatives from Laugharne's civic trust and community council spelt out their concerns.

Diane Jones of the trust accused Mr Eynon of trying to force the authority into passing the plans.

"Most of us agree that the cliff face must be made safe," she said.

Eric Eynon
Ferry House owner Eric Eynon

"But if retrospective planning is granted it will be the green light to allow people to build first and apply for permission later."

Clerk to the town council Paul Wilkins said: "The woodland should be returned to its former state."

'Physical violence'

But Mr Eynon defended the work saying it was necessary to make the cliff safe and to stabilise his house.

A spokesman for his agent, the Cardiff based RPS Group, told the meeting Mr Eynon had been happy to meet councillors at the site earlier.

But he added: "Some protesters resorted to physical violence as he was leaving.

He said the Countryside Council for Wales, the Welsh monuments agency Cadw and Carmarthenshire Council's urban design manager had no objections to what was proposed.

"We are not creating a problem, we are solving a problem," he added.

Councillors voted in favour of passing the application.


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