Plans by a company based in England to fell 27 acres of trees in order to build a holiday village are influencing the local elections in one part of Ynys Môn.

The leader of the Save Penrhos Coastal Park Holyhead campaign group, Hilary Paterson-Jones, told our sister title, Corgi Cymru, that she would "tie myself to a tree" to put a stop to the plans by the company called Land and Lakes.

According to Hilary, parts of the forest date back to the early 1700s, and it is full of rare species of flora, fauna and wildlife. There are red squirrels, badgers, bats, foxes and insects who have made the forest their home, she argues. And since 1967, it has been an Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"I live in Morawelon - one of the ten poorest places in Wales - and I can walk to Penrhos easily," says Hilary.

"This is the only woodland for 17 miles and it is busy here every day with people going for walks. That has increased significantly since Covid and in the last 18 months, our membership has doubled to 10,000."

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In addition, the campaign has raised £15,000 of the £20,000 needed to employ solicitors.

Hilary has been campaigning since 2011, when Land and Lakes received permission from Ynys Môn Council to fell the trees in order to build the holiday village.

"There are still people in Holyhead who think that because Land and Lakes hasn't started the work, it won't happen. But that's not true.”

According to Hilary, the campaigners are hoping that there will be "new blood" following the local elections on May 5, "and would look at this in a different way".

"We want an open meeting with councilors where the public can have their say on this. And obviously, someone from Land and Lakes would be able to say why they think this should go ahead.”

The campaigner is now 65-years-old, and has been using the park since her mother took her there as a baby.

"I speak from my heart when I say that I'd fight against this my entire life if need be," she says.

"We're trying to stop Land and Lakes getting started - the minute they start the planning application, it will carry on for good."

And if necessary, she maintains: "I would tie myself to the tree to stop them cutting the trees down."

Campaign group Save Penrhos Coastal Park Holyhead wants to prevent English company Land and Lakes from felling 27 acres of trees within the forest on Ynys Môn in order to build a holiday park. Photo: Google StreetviewThe foreshore at Penrhos on Ynys Môn. Photo: Colin Kinnear CC BY-SA 2.0

Councillor Trefor Lloyd Hughes, who represents Ynys Gybi ward on Ynys Môn Council, said: "There is big, big opposition to the creation of the Land and Lakes holiday village.

"It's a hot topic, now that local elections are on the horizon.”

Councilor Bob Llewelyn Jones is an independent councillor representing the Caergybi ward, within which lies Penrhos Coastal Park.

"I've always opposed the scheme," he says.

Like many other local people, he has used the forest since childhood: "I have tried to fight against this in the Council but the planning officers have given permission, and once that happens, it goes through. It's probably been ten years since then. 

"About eight months ago, the Land and Lakes boys asked for an extension of the planning permission.

"The original application included housing for Wylfa Newydd employees as well as holiday chalets. 

But with Hitachi having withdrawn from the plan to build a second nuclear power station on Ynys Môn, Councillor Llewelyn Jones argues that the Land and Lakes plans need to be revisited.

"Wylfa is not coming so the whole application should be forgotten and Land and Lakes should start again, but the officers (Ynys Môn Council's planning department) are not playing ball with that," he said.

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Councilor Llewelyn Jones is very critical of the procedure within his own council. He would like to see the plan come before the full committee, which would include all of the island's councilors: "but it's not working in Ynys Môn now, and that's totally unreasonable.

"This will be looked at again by a panel of eight councillors," he says, adding that he will have to wait until after the local elections on May 5 before resuming the battle.

"I'm very disappointed with the way the officers are dealing with the community really. I have lost faith in the way planning is done on Ynys Môn.”

The Welsh Government has refused to intervene, he says: "They say it is not an issue of interest outside Ynys Môn."

Campaign group Save Penrhos Coastal Park Holyhead wants to prevent English company Land and Lakes from felling 27 acres of trees within the forest on Ynys Môn in order to build a holiday park. Photo: Google StreetviewA trail through Penrhos. Photo: Eric Jones CC BY-SA 2.0

However, that was back in 2014, long before Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, announced in July 2021 a "national call to action" to plant 86 million trees in Wales over the next nine years.

Lee Water AS and the Welsh Government were asked whether they would they step in to save the 27 acres of trees at Penrhos from being felled.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman confirmed they had not changed their mind in a statement:

"Ministers were asked to call in a planning application for the development in question in 2014. It was decided that they would not intervene."

Ynys Môn Council was approached for comment and said queries would be answered this week. 

Land and Lakes, which has an office in Cumbria in the north west of England, was also approached for comment. 

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