Row over Manorafon Farm Park attractions at Gwrych Castle

Gwrych Castle Image copyright Karen Kenworthy
Image caption The castle near Abergele was built in the early 19th century

A tourist attraction which had more than 45,000 visitors last year is seeking planning permission for developments near an historic castle.

The Welsh Historic Gardens Trust (WHGT) say developments at Manorafon Farm Park at Conwy's Gwrych Castle "degrade" the parkland surrounding it.

A farm trail and maze were established in 2018 without planning consent, which is now being sought retrospectively.

The application states the development is "extremely low key addition".

Extra animal pens and pathways were created in 2018 along with the farm trail and maze.

Now retrospective applications have been submitted to Conwy County Borough Council for the latter two, along with one for a parking area alongside the castle lodge.

"We object to being faced with faits accomplis which show no respect for the listed designation of this site," Glynis Shaw, chairman of the WHGT Clwyd branch, said in a letter objecting to the application.

"What was once a wooded parkland entrance to a listed site has now been degraded and the area denuded of trees, leaving the area barren and turned into an agricultural use for a commercial petting farm and tourist attraction."

'Growing attraction'

The farm park opened at Manorafon Farm, just inside the main entrance to the castle, in 2016.

WHGT claims the maze, on land formerly used for grazing, is not sympathetic to the landscape, and that trees should be planted around the farm trail before the site re-opens.

"The 'farm trail' and 'maize maze' are both extremely low key and subsequently straightforward," the planning application states.

"The additional outdoor leisure facility would be of benefit both to the residents of Abergele and visitors."

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