DEVELOPERS have been reminded not to clear land without contacting council planning officers, after a rugby club removed greenery without permission.
Penybanc RFC, near Ammanford, cleared an area near its pitch before submitting an application for a new overflow car park.
The council’s planning committee heard the club has since agreed to plant trees and install bird and bat boxes.
Councillors were told that the expanding club, which has a new junior pitch, needed extra parking space on training and match days.
Current parking arrangements were described in the planning report as neither suitable nor safe. Some players and parents park on the main A483 road, which runs past the club, because all the clubhouse spaces are full.
A traffic regulation order for this section of the A483 has been proposed by the Welsh Government, and Dyfed-Powys Police has written to the club saying that vehicles parked on the pavement on the A483 will get tickets.
Access into the new overflow car park, which will have around 40 spaces, will be from the adjoining Parc Fferws housing estate. It will also allow direct ambulance access onto the pitch for the first time.
The car park application led to 40 objections and 71 letters of support.
Those against the plan said access in and out of Parc Fferwys was already an issue, that having extra traffic would affect residents’ security and privacy, and that house prices would fall.
One letter claimed that senior players from away teams “drive in an unsafe manner”.
Supporters said the existing parking situation was dangerous and that a new overflow car park would encourage more juniors to join the club.
Planning officers recommended approval of the application, subject to conditions including that the car park must only be used in connection with matches, training and club events.
Addressing the planning committee in support of the application, ward councillor Karen Davies said the current situation was “dreadful”, leading to many complaints.
She said there had been three incidents in the last two years when injured players had to wait longer for treatment because of the access issue for paramedics.
Referring to the unauthorised land clearance, Cllr Davies said: “They (the club) have done as much as they can to rectify what they should not have started.”
Councillors unanimously supported the application.
Cllr Gareth Thomas said: “It will be interesting to see how many clubs we will have left after this pandemic.”
Cllr Ken Lloyd wanted to know if the council could do anything to educate developers and applicants about not clearing land ahead of time.
Planning committee chairman, Cllr Alun Lenny, said: “Developers must contact the planning department at the first possible opportunity if they do intend clearing growth of any kind that might later be associated with a planning application.
“That is not specifically directed at the rugby club in this instance, but in general to developers who may be inclined to do so.”