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Council to decide on holy site shooting row

Created on 09/09/2018 @ 10:16
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Plans to create a commercial shooting facility close to a holy site in North Powys will be decided by councillors.

Powys County Council say that the application by the Rural Building Studio to change the use of land at Cwm Dwygo, at Llangynog, near Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, has been “called in” by local county councillor Bryn Davies.

The land under the spotlight is a couple of miles away from the site of St Melangell’s Church, a sixth century saint who founded a community there akin to a nunnery.

An online petition against the proposal is also gathering momentum and has been signed by more than 1,200 people.

The Bishop of St Asaph, the Right Rev Gregory Cameron (pictured), voiced his concerns about the application last month.

He believes that giving permission would be detrimental to the valley as well as the “many pilgrims” who come to visit the shrine.

The land used to be part of a large game shooting enterprise known as “Llechwedd y Garth” which closed after the estate was sold last year.

The Rural Building Studio, which is making the application, said in documents submitted with their application that they would be using the existing shooting set-up already there.

They said: “Noise levels generated are within permissible levels, even at the closest property and are calculated at 41db (decibels) in the area of St Melangell’s Church, which is considered very low.

“The former game shooting business was a good employer and this proposal will help to extend the season of employment to some of its casual workers and retain the employment of the full time staff.

“Local pub, B&Bs, hotels and shops will also find the seasonality of their businesses may be helped by having a more steady supply of customers throughout the year.”

Set up by Dawn Meadows, the petition claims: “A clay pigeon shoot or the introduction of the shooting of new species, would shatter on an almost permanent basis the peace of the valley.

“It would destroy the the attraction of that peace to the many hundreds of visitors of all faiths and none, from all over the world, who seek the peace of the shrine of St Melangell.”

A spokesman for PCC, said: “The application will be determined by the planning committee after the planning application was called in by the local member.

“There’s currently no date for when the planning committee will consider the application.”

The Shrine Church of St Melangell is a world class heritage and tourist site. Melangell, or Monacella, is thought to have been the daughter of an Irish king who fled to the valley in the sixth century to escape the marriage her father planned for her.

On one occasion, while out in the countryside, she sheltered under her cloak a hare that was being hunted by Brochwel Ysgythrog, Prince of Powys, and prevented his hounds from catching it.

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