Alternative interpretations: exceptional circumstances and the Bluestone Development in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park
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This paper focuses on the debate around the planning application to build a major holiday village in a National Park, an application complicated by the fact that the proposed site straddled the boundaries of two planning authorities driven by very different policy agendas and attitudes towards sustainability which acted as lenses for their interpretation of the term "exceptional circumstances". The situation was further exacerbated by extensive cross-membership of the two planning authorities with elected members from the local authority forming the majority of members on the National Park authority without reciprocal membership from the National Park authority on the local authority. Thus, local authority policies bled across the boundary into the National Park authority. Planning permission was granted and, although its legality was later challenged in court, was subsequently upheld. Through convergent and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders different discursive constructions of the term exceptional circumstances, which enabled stakeholders to rationalise their reactions to the proposal and their subsequent support (or not) for it, crystallised. The paper concludes that for cross-boundary proposals with very different policy drivers each side of the boundary, as is the case for a local authority and a National Park authority, that planning applications must be referred for external, independent scrutiny.
Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development
Elgammal, Islam and Jones, Eleri(2008) 'Alternative interpretations: exceptional circumstances and the Bluestone Development in Pembrokeshire Coast National Park', Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development, 5: 3, pp.203-214
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