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Planning defeat for Zeta's family

Mar 19 2004

Robin Turner, The Western Mail


AN APPEAL to councillors by Catherine Zeta-Jones's parents over their 1m new home in Mumbles fell on deaf ears yesterday when they were told they "should have gone to Llandeilo".

The Hollywood star's parents Pat and Dai Jones wanted their local council to put a stop to Steve Gwynn's telecommunications business next door to their new family home at Limeslade, Mumbles.

But Labour-run Swansea City and County Council voted to give entrepreneur Mr Gwynn permission to carry on trading yesterday.

The Joneses argued that comings and goings at the company's headquarters could lead to an intrusion of privacy on what was meant to have been an exclusive, gated three-home estate.

In particular, the couple feared an invasion of celebrity spotters when their daughter and her husband Michael Douglas stayed with them.

But at a full meeting of Swansea City and County Council yesterday Labour's Des Thomas said, "If they wanted peace and seclusion they should have built in Llandeilo or somewhere like that."

Council planners had urged councillors to find in favour of the actress's family because the estate was intended as a residential area.

But the meeting of the full council upheld its previous decision to allow the firm to continue operating as it has done since the end of 2002. They voted 26-12 to overturn the officers' recommendation, even after hearing a last-minute letter submitted on behalf of the Jones family.

Liberal Democrat Mary Jones told the meeting, "The only reason that we are having pressure put on us is because the owners happen to the parents of a very influential couple."

The letter from the Jones family said continuation of Mr Gwynn's business, which has been run from a barn at the site for the past 17 months, would change the character of the area. It also expressed concerns that the single floor used for the business might be extended.

Councillors were told however that the permission to continue trading at the site for Mr Gwynn only extended to the first floor of the barn.

Mr Gwynn's representatives have told the authority that his business employs only four people and at most there are two deliveries a week.

Mr Gwynn, who was not available for comment, has previously called the council's decision " a vote for common sense". He has said that by far the biggest draw of people to the estate is the house owned by Catherine Zeta-Jones's parents.

"Busloads" of tourists from all over Europe came to look at it, he said. The site was regularly buzzed by helicopters with taking shots of developments at the estate, known as Silverhurst.

Mr and Mrs Jones have placed their home at Mayals on the market for 425,000 and are about to move into the new house at Silverhurst.


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