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Due to the impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority has closed its headquarters, visitor attractions (Carew Castle, Castell Henllys and Oriel y Parc), its car parks and sections of the Pembrokeshire Coast Path until further notice. All meetings and events are cancelled until further notice. If you have any queries please call 01646 624800 or email

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Home » Living In » Planning » Planning Myths

Planning myths and planning facts

Below we’ve dispelled a number of commonly held planning myths. These myths are off the mark and so we have paired them with the actual planning facts…

“The National Park designation means that these areas are no-go zones.”

Approval rates for planning proposals within the National Park designation are the same as those nationally, outside of National Park areas. So, definitely not no-go zones.

“National Parks have a higher refusal rate than other planning authority areas. It is almost impossible to get planning permission for anything in the National Park, and more difficult than outside the National Park.”

We’ll let the figures speak for themselves. We approve 86% of all planning applications. For England and Wales the average is 87%.

“Planning decisions do not take local people’s views into account.”

Comments and objections on planning applications are very much considered as part of the process of making decisions on planning applications. Local residents are given the opportunity to speak at the public Committee meetings.

“You have to live in a National Park for about 50 years to qualify as local.”

Our local needs guidance for affordable housing refers to a five year residency to qualify. There are other ways to qualify as well including receiving or giving support for the elderly or infirm, having a local connection or taking up employment.

“None of the Planning Committee actually live in the National Park nor really understands about locals.”

There are 18 Members on the Authority’s Committee.

“The planning system within a National Park is more expensive than in other local authorities – an extra burden on the tax payer.”

The difference in cost is largely explained by the level of income that other local planning authorities are able to generate from fee income. The Parks generate significantly less income.

“Second homes on farms (e.g. for farming successors) are not allowed.”

New national planning policy allows for a second dwelling on an established farm to allow for the handover of the management of the farm business to a younger farmer.

“Traditional barn restorations cannot be put to commercial use.”

Our conversion policy allows for a range of uses (including commercial) in individual conversions. Priority is, however, given to affordable housing provision in larger proposals.

“All wind energy developments are banned.”

Generally smaller scale proposals where carefully sited are acceptable.

“Hydro electric power generators are unlikely to get planning permission.”

Because these buildings and structures are small and usually of a scale in keeping with the natural environment in which they are sited, they are likely to get planning permission in this Park.

“Don’t even try a modern design as the National Park Authority only wants pastiche copies of old.”

There are examples of innovative contemporary buildings in the Park, for example, Malator, Brithdir Mawr and Oriel y Parc, the Authority’s own Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids.

“You have to have timber framed windows in the Park.”

This would be the case in traditional conversions or a building designed to reflect the local vernacular. We generally wish to encourage the use of wood as it is more sustainable but we would consider appropriate alternatives.

“The planners are not being proactive in seeking sustainable solutions.”

This is not the case. The Authority has a suite of sustainable planning guidance documents which seek to promote sustainable development and these are available on our website. 

If you know of any other possible planning myths please email and we’ll give you the facts.