The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s plans to invite commercial operators to propose schemes for high-end camping – or “glamping”- at Cosmeston Country Park have come badly unstuck.
The council wanted to develop a 4 acre site within Cosmeston on which commercial “glamping” operators would be licensed to hire out “camping pods” .
It was hoped these hire operations would provide an income stream for the council and help towards meeting the cost of council services…. But now the council’s own Environment and Regeneration Committee has come down like a ton of bricks on the tenative tenting venture.
Several members of the public – many of whom were opposed to the whole idea – were in the gallery at the Vale of Glamorgan Council HQ as the “E&R committee” debated the rights and wrongs of the commercial camping proposal.
One of the Penarth committee members opposing the idea was Cllr Mark Wilson (Labour Stanwell).
Also sticking their oars in were three non-committee members – Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully), Cllr Nick Hodges (Plaid Cymru, Baruc) and Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour, Stanwell) who – in the previous Labour administration – had cheerfully advocated the licensing of a cable-operated commercial wakeboarding centre on one of Cosmeston’s two lakes .
After a passionate debate, committee chairman Cllr Vince Bailey (Conservative, Dyfan) brought forward recommendations to “collectively express opposition to any kind of camping at the parks” – effectively killing off the proposal . The committee also said it wanted “greater public consultation over future ideas for income generation in the Vale’s country parks.”
So it now seems that any commercial operations which might have been planning to apply for “glamping hire” licences at Cosmeston will have to “ fold their tents, like the Arabs, and silently steal away” .
However that still leaves the Conservative-run administration in the Vale Council a bit short of ready-cash and still looking for new ways to ease the pressure on its finances so as to stave off further increases in Council Tax.
Cllr Bailey said afterwards “There is sympathy with Cabinet for the need to generate income from our assets – and tourism in particular is one of the most significant ways in which the council can stimulate economic growth and create jobs. That said, there was a strong feeling that camping of any kind would be inappropriate in our country parks – and that the council should adopt a principle of ensuring that these are preserved as open public spaces.”