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'Holiday homes row almost cost us pounds 10m'.

Byline: Emyr Williams

GWYNEDD could have faced a massive pounds 10m compensation bill after a fight to stop holiday homes being built, it emerged last night.

County solicitor Alwyn Ellis Roberts revealed that the actual settlement of pounds 1.9m to West Midlands developer John Phillips was just a fifth of the bill if the matter had been settled in court.

The agreement last June brought to a head a long running planning row involving 70 acres of land on the outskirts of the village of Morfa Bychan, near Porthmadog.

The saga started in 1964 when planning permission was granted by the former Caernarfonshire County Council for five holiday villages of 800 houses near Black Rock Sands.

But in 1986, the then local authority, Dwyfor District Council, refused to acknowledge that the original planning consent was still valid.

This led to a number of court hearings after the land's owners, Agecrest Ltd, claimed compensation of up to pounds 15m.

The action, also involving major shareholder John Phillips, dragged through the courts.

Agecrest eventually pulled out, leaving Mr Phillips to pursue the case for compensation against Gwynedd Council, who succeeded Dwyfor Council on local government reorganisation in 1996.

Mr Phillips sold the land in 1999 to the owners of a nearby caravan park, with an agreement eventually reached between the park and Gwynedd Council to set aside the 1964 permission for the 800 houses.

In March of this year Gwynedd Council made an offer to settle the case at a reduced figure and agreement was reached to settle for pounds 1.9m.

Council chief executive Geraint Jones told the Principal Security Committee yesterday: "We had put a substantial sum to one side, and members will be able to decide soon what use should be made of that money."
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 4, 2001
Words:297
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