Support for The Oxwich Bay Hotel Marquee

Over the past 20 years, 24 Gower hotels have ceased trading; and the current long-term economic omnishambles, verging on being a triple-dip recession, means the hospitality trade is likely to continue to struggle.

The Oxwich Bay Hotel is one of only 5 hotels in the Gower Peninsula which has survived the hard times.  The proprietor, Ian Williams, employs nearly 50 members of staff and the business helps inject up to £1 million into the local economy.  One of the successes of the hotel has been to utilise the hotel as a beach-side wedding venue, complete with luxury marquee.

However, the hotel each year battles with Penrice and Swansea councillors to extend the temporary planning permission to use the marquee for the full year, rather than the current April-October restriction.

This year's planning application by chartered surveyor Patrick Atherton (representing Oxwich Bay Hotel) raises a few well-placed criticisms towards opponents, The Gower Society and the landowner of neighbouring Oxwich Bay (part of the Penrice Estate).

The Gower Society

Since the inception of The Gower Society in 1947, it has undoubtedly played a crucial role in protecting the natural beauty of Gower. However, the pressure group has also been accused of nimbyism, over-exaggerating the visual impact of modern developments and blocking local economic sustainability.

The visual impact of the marquees has been exaggerated and inaccurately portrayed by objectors, particularly the Gower Society, which is a minority interest pressure group that does not represent the views and best interests of the majority of Gower's residents and business proprietors.

- Patrick Atherton, February 12 2013, South Wales Evening Post

The Penrice Estate

Criticisms aimed at the 'blot' on the landscape at Oxwich Bay, owned by Thomas Methuen-Campbell, have made direct aesthetic comparisons between the beach-front facilities, highlighting unfair decision-making practices.

Oxwich Bay

Views of the southern part of Oxwich Beach are spoiled and scarred by parked vehicles, ugly and poorly maintained concrete block buildings with flat felt roofs, burnt and rusting red waste skips, brightly painted shipping containers and various materials which have been imported to raise the level of the top part of the beach.

- Patrick Atherton, February 12 2013, South Wales Evening Post

Methuen-Campbell has strenously denied the accusations as "nonsense" and listed:

All the material on the beach is natural, brought in by the tide.  Any lumps of concrete may have come from the boat ramp. The containers for watersports have been totally repainted. The two shops and toilets are soon to be replastered.

- Thomas Methuen-Campbell, February 12 2013, South Wales Evening Post

In retaliation he refers to the hotel marquee:

Every beach visitor has said, "What a dreadful eyesore", particularly in the winter.

- Thomas Methuen-Campbell, February 12 2013, South Wales Evening Post

Aesthetic comparisons

Patrick Atherton's criticisms are valid.  

The only thing that lets the place down are the eyesores - derelict buildings, poor toilets and very poor cafe. If owned by the local estate suggest they update the facilities at least and knock down the derelict buildings.

- 'Shame about facilities' by BathWendym, reviewed August 22 2012, TripAdvisor

A derelict coal house has lain empty on the beach front since the 1990s, which had planning permission approved in 2011 to convert it into a restaurant.  Most people agree it is a welcome opportunity to improve the tatty beach-front.

The marquee is in the grounds of the Oxwich Bay HotelOxwich Bay buildings

Image of Oxwich Bay Hotel marquee © Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Aesthetics are often subjective but brightly coloured shipping containers are arguably more of a blight to the landscape than a clean, white marquee.

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