To consider the report of the Service Manager Development Services.
Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager Development Services.
The Service Manager Development Services reminded Members of the application which had been presented to the last meeting and advised that Members had requested a site meeting be arranged in order to address concerns around the loss of public open space. The Service Manager advised that a fact finding visited had been held and the area for development was clearly marked for Members information.
The Service Manager referred to the previous report and noted that the Planning Officer reported that there was a conflict with Policy DM13 in the Local Development Plan which sought to protect open space. However, although there was a conflict within that Policy it was felt that the benefits of the development outweighed the conflict with that policy as there was a need for social housing within the Borough.
The Service Manager showed the site with the use of visual aids in order for Members to see the extent of the layout of the proposed application and how it would encroach on the green space in additional to the footprint of the former development.
A Member referred to the land which would be used for the development. The Member explained that the area was a lovely open space surrounded by meadow and trees with a river running alongside and a mountain in the backdrop. The green space was such a quiet and peaceful place and the Member felt that this was not just a recreational area it was park that benefited residents over the years and therefore should be protected for future use.
The Member felt that Tai Calon had a significant piece of land for development which could be used for bungalows. There was a great need for bungalows in the Borough. The Member advised that there was not a shortage of brownfield sites within the Blaenau Gwent and he felt that it was not necessary to take this park land from residents who had visited this area for many years. The Member stated that such open spaces should be protected for the wellbeing of residents.
Another Member welcomed the fact finding meeting as the site was clearly laid out to see the proposed land to be developed. The Member had wished that residents could have seen the actual area for development as the Member felt that it would have addressed a lot of concerns. The Member felt that even with the development the site would remain a welcoming green space for residents.
Members concurred with the comments raised and welcomed the development as additional affordable housing was needed in the Borough.
A Member referred to the map displayed and the land beyond the boundary line of the proposed development and asked if something could be undertaken to protect this land from being further developed.
The Service Manager Development and Estates advised that there were ways in which the Local Planning Authority could exercise future control. It was reported that the Local Planning Authority could hatch an area on an approved plan to prevent further built development within the area by a restrictive planning condition. The Service Manager referred to dialogue which had been undertaken with Tai Calon in relation to a unilateral undertaking which would be an agreement under Section 106, however the Applicant would not be expected to make a contribution but would be asked to sign a legal obligation not to develop land beyond land included in the present application. The Service Manager confirmed that Tai Calon had agreed to this course of action.
Further discussion ensued and concerns were raised in relation to, the extent of the development, the right of way and the small number of bungalows to be developed on the site. A Member felt that it was unacceptable to expect residents to walk a longer way around the development in inclement weather.
The Service Manager reiterated the layout of the proposed plan with the assistance of visual aids and stated that there were no inaccuracies in the plan. The Service Manager also reiterated that if Members are happy with the application a legal agreement could be entered into which prevented further built development on the site.
In terms of the right of way, it was reported that it was not a right of way it was an adopted public highway and a link would still remain on site albeit on a different route. The link was highlighted by the Service Manager with the assistance of visual aids.
A Member asked if the development could be compressed and the Service Manager advised that it could be considered, however it would only be a few metres.
A Member proposed that the application be granted with conditions that officers be delegated powers to negotiate a compressed turning area, although if a compromise could not be reached the application be developed as presented to Members. Also, a legal agreement be entered into that no further developments be built on the remaining land. This proposal was seconded.
Upon a vote was taken, 4 Members voted in favour of the officer’s recommendation with aforementioned conditions and 6 Members voted against. Councillors C. Meredith and M. Day abstained from voting and it was thereupon
RESOLVED that planning permission be REFUSED.
The Service Manager was requested to prepare a report for a future meeting to agree the reason(s) for refusal.