The owners of a farm park in Caerphilly have won planning permission for a new cafe, reindeer lodge and horse shelter, among other buildings.

The Meadows Farm Village Retreat, in Gypsy Lane, has also received retrospective approval for various buildings and animal enclosures that have already been built.

Described as an “interactive animal experience for all the family”, the attraction is home to creatures including meerkats, micro pigs, wallabies, alpacas and emus.

The decision by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning committee comes 18 months after the application for the building work was originally submitted.

A report by council planners said The Meadows has been “operating as a visitor attraction, without the benefit of planning permission” in that time.

In a statement on behalf of the applicant, LRM Planning said the proposal “offers an opportunity to improve tourist facilities for the county borough, which will be of great benefit to the local area, and ensure the longevity of Meadows Farm Village as a tourist destination”.

Several neighbours objected to the plans, however, telling the council their fears included an “unacceptable impact on residential amenity”, “impacts on the tranquillity of the area”, and concerns the single-track access lane “cannot cope with the traffic volume”.

Committee member Cllr Brenda Miles also questioned the suitability of the road.

“As this park is developing and growing, surely some improvements will need to be made in future,” she said, noting the planning officers had not recommended any changes to the road.

“If this wasn’t a retrospective application, are we being a little bit lenient?” Cllr Miles asked.

Highways officer Martin Tanner told the committee that “there have not been any significant highway concerns” on the road since the application was first made in early 2022.

But he accepted the council “would be looking for improvements” to the road if activity at the farm park “intensifies” in future.

Regarding the other objections from neighbours, council planners said in their report the proposal “would create a tourism [and] recreation business that is better suited to the countryside than to a built-up area”. 

“Concern has been raised regarding events at the site, but conditions have been recommended to ensure the farm park is used as such a facility only and also to restrict the opening hours to minimise impacts on the neighbours,” the planners added.

The planning committee’s members voted unanimously to grant planning permission for the development, subject to conditions.