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Appeal to support needs of £20m weddings business

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 13, 2013

By Richard Youle

  • Weddings are important to traders

Comments (3)

A GOWER councillor said the hotel at the centre of a marquee row was part of a £20million-plus wedding industry — and should be supported.

Richard Lewis said he knew the big players in the wedding sector in Gower, and felt all of them deserved backing.

Oxwich Bay Hotel has applied to Swansea Council for permission to use its marquee all year round rather than for the spring and summer months, as reported in yesterday's Post.

A document submitted as part of the planning application has put the cat among the pigeons with criticism of the Gower Society and the state of Oxwich Beach — owned by the Methuen-Campbell family of the Penrice Estate.

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Gower ward member Mr Lewis said weddings helped keep not just hotels but B&Bs and catering and hire car companies in business.

"I know most of the major players in the wedding industry in Gower — it brings in £22 to £23million a year," he said.

"Without the wedding business, a lot of the hotels would close.

"It is a huge business. The North Gower Hotel in Llanrhidian has shut. If they had gone for a wedding-type industry, they would still be open."

He added: "We don't want cowboys coming down here and ripping the place to pieces, but when you have got a highly professional wedding industry in Gower, you have got to nurture it."

Mr Lewis said he wanted to see more investment and jobs in Gower, which was why he had previously supported Oxwich Bay Hotel in its wedding marquee applications — and also Thomas Methuen- Campbell in his plans to convert a coal building on Oxwich Beach into a restaurant.

In 2011, Swansea Council's planning committee refused permission for Oxwich Bay Hotel to operate the wedding marquee during the winter months — overturning an earlier approval by a separate committee.

Gower Society chairman Malcolm Ridge has previously said it did not object when the hotel applied in 2004 to use the marquee in the summer, and December.

This planning permission, he said in a letter to the Post, was later revised to April 1 to October 31 only, with the condition that the marquee must be removed from November 1 to March 31.

"The marquee has permission for the summer only and we have never objected to this," said Mr Ridge.

"Temporary permission often becomes permanent by default if the structure remains all year round.

"If every business on Gower erected relatively low-cost marquees without planning permission to extend their businesses, where would it leave other establishments that have complied with planning laws and spent substantial sums on permanent and attractive structures?"

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3 comments

  • Chris76  |  February 13 2013, 7:57PM

    Ok so they are fine with the marquee being there through the spring-summer months but not through the quieter non tourist season winter? Sounds like a case of the NIMBYs to me.....

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  • swanseajock  |  February 13 2013, 4:30PM

    As I commented before, surely the huge big hotel type building to the right of the marquee stands out more than the relatively low level tent?

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  • sagacityrules  |  February 13 2013, 11:23AM

    Where is the Gower Society coming from? I thought that a planning application had been submitted and it is that planning application which is subject to consideration. The suggestion by Mr Ridge that the applicant is attempting to do something knowingly without planning approval is disingenuous and mischievous in the extreme. His comments cannot be trusted which reflects upon the agenda of the Gower Society in general. Mr Ridge should address and comment upon the matter in hand, not some figment of his imagination. The suggestion that every business in Gower is intent on breaking the law. Hardly promotes the integrity of Gower in general, does it? Mr Ridge should apologise to all Gower residents for his comments. They certainly do not reflect the views of society in Gower as I know it !!

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