Agenda item

Planning Applications Report

To consider the report of the Team Manager Development Management.


Consideration was given to the report of the Team Manager Development Management.


Application No. C/2020/0106 PCI Pharma Services  Unit 23-24 Tafarnaubach Industrial Estate Tredegar  - Construction of New Packaging Line Building, Retaining Wall and Covered Pedestrian Walkway Linking New Packaging Line Building with New Car Park


At the invitation of the Chair, the Team Manager Development Management gave details of the planning application which related to the proposed construction ofa large new packaging line building within the existing PCI Pharma ServicesLtd complex (formerly known as Penn Pharmaceuticals) located on theeastern edge of the Tafarnaubach Industrial Estate, Tredegar. The currentapplication also related to some associated development, namely abridge/covered pedestrian walkway that would link the new building with arecently constructed car park to the north of the existing complex and anextended section of reinforced concrete retaining walling.  It was noted that at this stage it was unknown whether the extended section of the retaining walling would be required.


Over recent months PCI, had embarked upon what they explain to be ‘an expansion of its facility to enhance its highly potent drug manufacturing and development capabilities, including both clinical and commercial supply which would support the growth of the business’ and during the last 12 months planning permission had been granted by the Authority for two separate developments on the site namely, the construction of a large new pharmaceutical containment facility building with a new large car parking area to the north of the existing complex and a new replacement laboratory facility. Such developments and the current proposal were viewed by the company as the first phase of a growth programme which would potentially see a significant increase to their workforce over the next five years.


Members were advised that the car parking provision would provide 183 spaces and would cover the parking needs of this current development plus the two separate developments that had already been granted planning permission.


Details of the proposals were viewed on the images contained in paragraphs 1.5, 1.8 and 1.11 of the report and this included the elevation of the building and a section as viewed from the west showing relative levels of car park, bridge/walkway, proposed building and existing buildings at the rear of existing complex.


On the basis of the scale of the development, the proposed application was classed as a ‘major’ planning application which required determination by the Planning Committee. In this context the application details had been the subject of a statutory pre-application consultation process and the application had been supported by numerous supporting documents detailed in Paragraph 1.13 of the report.  In addition, the company had undertaken significant discussions with the Team Manager at the early stage of the development.


Highways - In terms of consultation, the Highways Authority had raised no objection to the scheme provided that the new car park area previously approved be available for use before the proposed building was brought into use.  It was also confirmed that the provision of new cycle parking and the submission of a Travel Plan should be secured by the imposition of suitably worded conditions.


It was noted that the company had already started if not finished work on the car park already although the CFM2 building had yet to be constructed.  It was the intention of the company to build CFM2 and the other building as a joint contract and it was anticipated that work would commence on both buildings shortly.


Drainage - The applicant/developer had also been advised of the need to secure a separate approval for Sustainable Drainage and should contact Caerphilly CBC who were processing applications on behalf of Blaenau Gwent.


Landscape – Officers were satisfied that the recent application to extend car parking facilities north of this site included a landscape condition for hedgerow and tree planting to help address any negative visual impact concerns from the sensitive landscape area to the north. Further advised that the site levels of the development area being much lower than the northern extent of the site and the sites existing industrial development meant the current proposal did not raise any additional visual impact concern.


Planning Policy – It was noted that the Team Manager Development Plans had raised no objections in principle but had provided a list of policies contained in the Local Development Plan that should be considered.


External Consultation – Members were advised that no observations had been received from the Town Council in relation to the proposal and Welsh Water had confirmed the development would require approval of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).


The Team Manager Development Plans continued by advising that that the proposal was acceptable in principle and there were no significant issues to be considered.  The company currently employed a significant amount of people (over 400) and it was anticipated that an additional 50 jobs would be created as a result of this particular proposal. 


In determining the application, the following five issues were looked at i.e. highways/parking; drainage; impact on visual amenities; structural and renewal energy outlined in paragraphs 5.8 to 5.20 inclusive.


The following correction was made to paragraph 5.15 of the report i.e. that the nearest residential property would be positioned approximately 70 metres from the building and not 700 metres as detailed in the report.


A Construction, Design and Management Plan would address issues of amenity during the construction phase and this had been forwarded to the Environmental Health Department who had raised no concerns.


The current application plans indicated that the retaining wall may need to be further extended (eastwards) to accommodate one further chiller. Whilst section details have been provided which confirm the height of the required wall, and the intended profile of the proposed groundworks, no structural details had been provided for the retaining walls which exceed 1-5 metres in height. However, the officer was content that this was a matter that could be dealt with by planning condition, particularly as works beyond what had been previously approved may not be required. A condition could similarly be imposed to require details of the additional chiller.


The Team Manager Development Management concluded by stating that the potential impact of the proposal had been carefully assessed against relevant national and local planning policies and guidance and found to be acceptable. The officer was satisfied that the matters of technical detail which have yet to be finalised could be addressed by the imposition of suitably worded conditions and requested that delegated powers be granted to officers to add to or amend conditions if deemed necessary.  She concluded by recommending that the planning permission be granted, subject to the conditions listed within the report.


The views of Members were, thereupon, sought in relation to the proposal.


-      A Ward Member thanked the officer for the report and said that he welcomed the proposed development which would not only benefit Tredegar.  He supported the application in its entirety and concurred with the officer recommendation for approval.


-      Another Member said that this was a very exciting development and supported the proposal.


-      Reference was made to the car park which was north of building and a Member pointed out that there were always cars parked on the highway in this area. He stated that if it was nearer to park on the highway than to travel to the car park people would continue to do so and asked whether consideration had been given to implementing traffic management plans to address this issue.


The Team Manager Development Management said that she was not aware of any Traffic Management proposals but pointed out that the company had embarked on major car park proposals because they were aware of the issue of employees parking on the highway and the company had also made arrangements for overflow parking facility in the premises of an adjacent building.   It was hoped that this scheme which would provide a bridge and covered walkway would entice employees to drive to the rear of the building and these use facilities, thus alleviating the problems experienced at the front of the building. The Team Manager concluded by advising that there may be an opportunity to address this issue in terms of the detail within the Travel Plan when received this document was received.


-      A Member said that this was a fantastic opportunity for Blaenau Gwent especially within pharmaceutical industry at this time.  He pointed out that when chillers had been installed previously in another development they had been accompanied by a noise impact assessment/statement and asked if this would be a requirement in this instance.


The Team Manager Development Management advised that in the case the Member was referring to a noise impact assessment had been requested by environmental health due to the close proximity of the proposal to residential properties.  In terms of this proposal, there was some distance between the site and the new housing development – the nearest house was the farm house itself.


These chillers were proposed to be located at the rear of the site at the rear of the building and would be shielded by the building itself.  It was noted that two chillers had already been approved for the site and this issue had not been raised previously and therefore, it would now be difficult to request a noise impact assessment for this particular proposal.


-      Another Member said that this excellent proposal which would create much needed jobs for the area. The new car park would alleviate the congestion on the highway and he concluded by stating that he fully supported the proposal.


It was unanimously,


RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that planning permission be GRANTED, subject to the conditions outlined in the report of the Team Manager Development Management.


FURTHER RESOLVED that delegated powers be granted to officers to add to or amend conditions, if deemed necessary.


Application No. C/2020/0027 Regain Building & Basement Garden, Mill Lane, Victoria, Ebbw Vale, NP23 6GR - Two Storey Building (B1 Use) Linked To Regain Building with Associated Infilling Of Basement Garden, Access, Parking and Other Infrastructure, And Additional Parking Areas and Service Access to Regain Building


Members were advised that the above proposal was classed as a ‘major’ development and as such needed to be determined by the Committee.


The Service Manager Development and Estates, gave details of the proposed development which sought planning permission for a two storey building that would be linkedto the existing Regain building. The building would form part of the NationalDigital Exploitation Centre which would help and support companies looking totest and develop their digital concepts as well as provide training in digitalpractices. The research and development facility would be delivered by Thales(a private company currently occupying the original Regain building) incollaboration with the University of South Wales.


The Centre’s educational outreach element would also provide students with real-life experience in thedigital sector. The proposed building would have a B1 usethat complemented the existing use of the Regain building. The educational element would be ancillary to the main B1 uses of the existing and proposed buildings as a whole.


Details of the size and height and proposed layout of the proposed development were provided as outlined in paragraph 1.2 of the report.


In terms of site history, it was noted that a number of previous applications received related to the land reclamation of the former Corus Site.


Consultation - With regard to internal consultation, the Highways Authority had raised no objection to the proposal subject to the provision and retention of the cycle and car parking areas.  No objections had been raised in terms of ground stability subject to the grounds stabilisation works or from a landscaping perspective as proposed development included a robust approach to enhancing the development through the use of tree and shrub planting.


External consultees had raised no objection to the proposal subject to appropriate conditions being attached to any grant of planning permission. 


No letters of support or objection had been received from members of the public. A Ward Member had, however, confirmed that he had no issue to raise in respect of the proposed development.


It was noted that the B1 use would conform with employment related policies outlined in the Local Development Plan however, ‘The Works Design and Masterplan’ Supplementary Planning Guidance specifically designated the application site as an open basement structure that was to be retained. As such, the infilling and loss of the basement was not in accordance with the SPG LDP Supplementary Planning Guidance.  As such the application had been advertised as a development that did not accord with the provisions of the LDP (i.e. a ‘departure application’).


Turning to the issue of the basement structure itself, consultation had taken place with the Local Development Plans Manager and although there would be a loss of open space it was ‘not technically an open space’ because it had been fenced off for health and safety purposes and was not a locally protected form of open space.  Therefore, on balance attaching less weight to the loss of the basement than would have otherwise would have done, given the economic benefits associated with the development the report was in favour of proposal and loss of basement structure.  It was noted that there was another basement on the other side of the development. 


It was noted that the expansion of the digital business with the links to education met the strategic objectives within the Local Development Plan and the proposals would make a contribution to the Works Site and not conflict with the overall aims of the Local Development Plan.


In terms of layout and scale it was felt that the building would be better sited further forward on the site making a stronger link to Lime Avenue however, officers had been informed that the building had been set back because its connected to existing Regain building and the need for surveillance around the building.  This would lead to car parking becoming the most prominent feature on the thoroughfare through The Works but this was the compromise that would have to be made to deliver the scheme.  In addition, the building line did not conform with Lime Avenue Units again due to the link with the existing Regain Building.


The Highways Authority had raised no objection to the proposed development subject to the provision and retention of the cycle and car parking areas, and the submission and approval of the details relating to the proposed highway junction and reconfiguration of the existing on street parking.  Minor issues regarding charging points would also need to be addressed.


The proposed employment incorporated appropriate hard and soft landscaping details that would provide an appropriate visual setting and allow the development to integrate adequately with the street scene and surrounding area.


A separation distance of over 30 metres would be maintained between the nearest residential property, Lime House, and the proposed employment building. It was considered that this separation distance was sufficient to prevent an unacceptable impact on the amenity of the occupiers in terms of overlooking, overshadowing or overbearing.


Drainage - As the proposed development had a construction area of greater than 100 square metres, Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) would need to be used to dispose of surface water and a separate consent would be required from the SuDS Approval Body.


Ground Stability and Contamination - The Council’s Specialist Environmental Health Officer had raised no objection to the proposed employment building. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) had, however, recommended conditions that would protect controlled waters from the mobilisation of contamination as a result of uncontrolled surface water infiltration into the ground and/or piling or any other foundation designs using penetrative methods. An initial ground investigation report had confirmed that there were elements of contamination on site but nothing that would exceed statutory limits at present but there was always potential to find other further contamination as ground excavation works took place.


The Service Manager stated that whilst the proposal was not in accordance with the Local Development Plan or the associated Supplementary Planning Guidance i.e. that the loss of the basement garden would be detrimental in terms of open space provision and the character of the area, he felt that this would not be unacceptably so. The proposed employment building would bring significant economic benefits and was considered appropriate to the local context in terms scale and appearance. He, therefore, concluded by recommending that planning permission be granted.


The views of Members were, thereupon, sought in relation to the application.


-      A Member expressed his concern regarding the loss of the basement structure as it was part of the heritage of the site and requested that this heritage should be marked in some manner.


The Service Manager said it was a concern and this was the reason that the Supplementary Planning Guidance had sought retention of as many of the basements in recognition of the previous site activities.  However, it was difficult to find a suitable use for the basement whilst protecting public safety and said that going forward an alternative solution would have to be identified.  He concluded by stating that he would liaise with Technical Services the options to mark the heritage of site of the basement should Members approve the application.


-      A Member commented that it was sad that the proposal would only create an additional two jobs and that the of the whole organisation only employed 8 people.


The Service Manager said that whilst employment numbers were relatively low given the size of the building with the links to education and training it would be a hive of activity and would receive a considerable amount of visitors to the centre.  It was hoped that this would be a seed business for other technology companies to grow around it because this was an international company.


-      In reply to a point raised in respect of screening, the Service Manager advised that the landscaping details submitting were acceptable and it would be important that a robust landscaping scheme was secured by condition.


-      Another Member said that these were exciting times involving education and research and the Service Manager and his team had done an excellent job but said that whilst he fully supported the application he had some concerns.  He concurred with the previous comments made regarding the loss of the basement structure and said that this should be marked in some way so that people could remember the heritage of the site.


He continued by explaining that a number of years ago issues arose with the foul sewer and that there were voids that ran underneath the shafts where water continually ran.  He was mindful of the proposed works and raised concern that these works could potentially adversely affect the waterways and cause flooding in another area.


The Service Manager advised that there was an abandoned sewer on the site and Technical Services was in discussion with Welsh Water to identify its exact location.  With regard to drainage this would be dealt with via a SuDS scheme.  In addition, previous remediation schemes had dealt with a considerable amount of the contamination but if unforeseen contamination was encountered during the works there would be a process that would be triggered to deal with this.  This element had been covered by a condition.


The Team Leader Development Manager advised that the contamination the levels were not significant enough to cause problems for the construction and end use.  With regard to ground stability there was a requirement for drilling and grouting which would be controlled by a condition.  However, when the future application received consultation would take place with the engineers and Natural Resources Wales to ensure that any implications of that drilling and grouting would not have any significant environmental affects.


-      Another Member said that whilst there was slight deviation away from the Local Development Plan the site was earmarked for leisure, housing and was high on the agenda for economic development.  He concluded by stating that he fully supported the application.


It was unanimously,


RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that planning permission be GRANTED, subject to the conditions outlined in the report of the Team Manager Development Management.





Application No. C/2020/0095 - Former Tredegar General Hospital, Tredegar Health Centre and Bedwellty Park, Park Row, Tredegar, NP22 3NG - Reserved Matters Application Relating to Access (Revised from that Approved Under Outline Planning Permission), Landscaping, Appearance, Scale And Layout Of Planning Permission C/2020/0037 (Demolition of Tredegar Health Centre, Partial Demolition of Tredegar General Hospital and Erection Of A New Class D1 Health and Wellbeing Centre)


At the invitation of the Chair, the Team Leader Development Management gave details of the above reserved matters application.  It was noted that outline planning permission had been granted for the demolition of the existing Health Centre, partial demolition of Tredegar General Hospital and construction new Health and Wellbeing Centre and associated works in November 2019.  The access arrangements were approved at outline stage but all other matters were reserved for future consideration.


The applicant had now chosen to submit revised access details in respect of the proposal which needed to be considered alongside the other reserved matters of layout, scale, appearance and landscaping.  It was noted that Conservation Area Consent had also been granted in November 2019 for the demolition works because the site fell within Tredegar Townscape Conversation area and Bedwellty House and Park Conservation area. There were also a number of listed buildings in the vicinity which included a number of listed buildings associated with Bedwellty House and Park and Saron Chapel.


The proposed health and wellbeing centre would be predominantly built on the site of the former Tredegar general hospital building, with the original 1904 twin gabled building retained as part of the proposed development and incorporated into the new health and wellbeing centre.  This would be achieved by wrapping a new split level two storey building around the sides and rear of the existing twin gable building. This chosen development option was referred to as ‘The Heart’ at outline application stage.  The primary access to the building would be from Park Row and a secondary access would also be provided to the rear of building.


The Team Leader continued by showing images of the proposed development and the site layout.  Landscaping would be provided on the boundary of the site on Market Street and Park Row.


Councillor D. Bevan left the meeting at this juncture.


Reference was made to C/2020/0037 Variation of condition 1 and removal of condition 8 of outline planning permission C/2019/0237 to allow a revised bat migration strategy - this was a new approval which included the provision of a temporary bat house with the permanent bat migration measures now included within roof space of new Health and Wellbeing Building.


Consultation - In terms of consultation, the responses from internal consultees had been included at paragraph 3 of the report.  With regard to the concerns raised by the Team Manager – Natural Environment over the lack of proposals to improve connectivity and green infrastructure links between the proposed health and wellbeing centre and Bedwellty Park, discussions had taken place with the applicant regarding the potential to include soft and hard landscaping measures to improve the connectivity and this had been included as a planning condition should the proposal be approved.


No objections to the proposal had been raised by CADW or the Heritage Advisory Service.


One member of the public had responded to the public consultation, stating that whilst the proposed health and wellbeing centre would be a wonderful facility for local people, the land within Bedwellty Park should not be sold or leased to Aneurin Bevan Health Board.


A representation had also been received from a Ward Member concerned about the lack of public consultation regarding revised access and parking details and the impact of large vehicles during demolition and construction phases.  It was noted that these matters had been addressed in Section 5 of the report.


The proposed building respects the original 1904 building in terms of design and would complement that building. The proposal would also re-establish the link and inter relationship between the general hospital site and Bedwellty Park, which had been lost over the decades as

the original general hospital changed its aspect towards Park Row through alterations and additions to the building.


The Highway Authority had raised no objection to a new vehicular access from Park Row which would be created to serve a new car parking area.  In total, the proposal would provide 83 parking spaces, which was 13 more than what was indicatively proposed at outline application stage.  A full travel plan and car parking phasing plan had been requested by the Highway Authority to address the health centre demolition and parking implications on the local area and this would be secured via condition.


The Team Leader Development Management concluded by recommending approval of the proposal to the Committee subject to conditions.


The views of the Members of the Committee were, thereupon, sought.


-      A Member welcomed the development because it was much needed in Tredegar and supported the proposal.  However, he had an element of concern regarding the number of car parking spaces.  Whilst this number had been increased to 83, as part of the initial consultation a number of years ago the number of proposed car parking spaces had been 103.  He requested that his concerns be recorded in respect of the car parking provision especially as the facility would be very well used incorporating two G.P. practices and the offshoots of these practices.


Another Member asked the following series of questions:


-      As heavy plant hire had now been brought on to the site at what stage in the demolition was the contractor at?


-      The Member requested that his disappointment be noted that the land at the rear of hospital was not being incorporated into the project – the original hospital was to be called a ‘health and wellbeing centre’ and to have such a centre incorporated and have to access a beautiful park for health and wellbeing purposes would have been the icing on the cake. 


-      How was the site going to be managed during the construction phases as there would be two surgeries operating out of the site together with a pharmacy?   In addition, there would be an impact on the residents living in Park Row and Market Street and this would need to be managed.


The Member concluded by expressing his appreciation to the Health Board and Planning Department for including and respecting the heritage of the Tredegar and the 1904 building by incorporating this into the new health centre development.


The Team Manager Built Infrastructure advised that in respect of parking at the time that outline planning permission had been applied for concern had been raised that 70 car parking spaces would be insufficient.  Based on that and information in terms of staff movements/use i.e. not all the staff would be on site at any one time and some would be based in the community together with the sustainability scoring for the development he was content that 83 spaces was sufficient to accommodate this activity.  He, thereupon, provided details of a comparative site in Brynmawr that had opened in the last 2 years which was working very well in terms of car parking.


With regard to the new access point concerns had been raised by residents that with one access onto Market Street that people may be tempted to go against the one-way system and travel back onto Park Row.  The applicant had taken this point on board and this had been the reason why the access point car park had been changed.


Regarding construction officers had been contacted by applicant who had advised that demolition was on-going and there was currently one access point provided for access and egress of demolition vehicles.  Highways officers would be visiting the site the following week so the situation was being monitored during the demolition works.  With regard to maintaining the car parking provision throughout the course of the works, this was a very valid point and the applicant had been requested to submit a phased car parking plan to ensure that adequate parking was available on site at all times throughout the demolition and construction phases of the works.


-      The Team Leader Development Management confirmed that the contractor was keen to get on site as soon as possible but had been held back by a condition on the outline planning permission that required full approval of reserved matters.  If approval was received for the reserved matters the contractor could begin work on the demolition relatively quickly.


The construction method statement had not yet been approved.  This was still yet to be considered.


With regard to the connectivity of the land to rear the Team Manager Natural Environment had shared the view of the Member and wished to see the use of the land to improve connectivity within the park.  As the applicant had some issues regarding funding timelines and the legal status of the land and land ownership he had been keen to progress with the scheme. However, this issue had been discussed further with applicant and they were keen and willing to consider soft and hard landscaping measures so there could be key linkages with the park and wider area. Condition no. 7 as recommended would allow officers to explore this opportunity further.


It was unanimously,


RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that planning permission be GRANTED, subject to the conditions outlined in the report of the Team Manager Development Management.


Supporting documents: