To consider the report of the Service Manager Development and Estates.
Consideration was given to the report of the Service Manager Development and Estates.
The Service Manager Development and Estates referred to the application which had been considered by Committee on the 4th November, 2021 and a site visit on 24th November, 2021. The site had been clearly pegged out for Committee to visualise the area for development, however it had still remained the resolution of the Committee that the application be refused due to the loss of open green space.
It was reported that late correspondence received in relation to the application had been circulated to Members of the Committee.
The Service Manager referred Members to the preferred option which reflected the reason for refusal as per discussions as the aforementioned Committee meetings and advised that it was for Members to decide if the wording detailed in the report was the Members reasons for refusal.
The Chair reported that he had not been present at the previous Committee where the item had been discussed. The Chair felt it would be appropriate to hand the meeting over to the Vice-Chair and the Chair reported that he would not take part in the vote.
The Vice-Chair took the meeting at this juncture and invited comments/questions from Members.
A Member felt that the comments outlined in 3.2 of the report gave an accurate reflection of the remarks made by Members and advised that he remained against the development.
A Member concurred with the comments raised and felt that over the last 2 years open/green spaces had become a place of importance in many residents lives. There had been great changes for people across the Country with periods of isolation, home working which all raised mental health issues and loneliness for many people. The many residents from this area had commented how invaluable this green space had been over the last 2 years and would continue to be as they have enjoyed the walk in this area with pets or meeting people. Therefore, the Member felt that retaining this land was important to the people who utilise this open space.
The Member added the Welsh Government introduced the Well Being Future Generations Act in 2015. The Act defined the sustainable development principle as acting in a manner which seeks to ensure the need of the present without compromising future need. The Member continued that the Welsh Audit Office stated that the Well Being of future generations needed improved access to and open spaces for communities, businesses and visitors. There was a need to better understand the current physical and mental health of the people in our communities along with levels of social isolation. These areas should to be maintained to ensure delivery of these objectives and to make a positive difference on people’s lives.
The Public Services Board said that the Well Being objectives recognised the values of open spaces for peoples mental and physical wellbeing. Therefore, the Member felt that this green space must be protected for present and future generations. The Member felt that we now realise 2 years on how valuable this land was and was of the opinion that there would be many more changes over the next 100 years. The Member reiterated the importance to retain this land for our future communities.
Discussion ensued in relation to the application and the following Members advised that they would abstain from voting as their opinion remained in favour of the development:-
Councillor J. Hill
Councillor W. Hodgins
Councillor K. Pritchard
Councillor C. Meredith
Councillor G. Thomas
A Member felt that there were other brownfield sites that could be used for development and therefore could not support the development. Another Member concurred with these comments and the reason for refusal (Option 1) was proposed.
Upon a vote being taken, 1 Member voted against Option 1 and 5 Members voted in favour of Option 1. The Chair did not take part in the vote and Councillors W. Hodgins, M. Day, J. Hill, C. Meredith and K. Pritchard abstained from voting. It was therefore,
RESOLVED that the report be accepted and Members endorsed the following reason for refusal that reflects
the concern expressed at the Planning Committee held on 24th November, 2021 (Option 1).
· A significant proportion of the application site extended beyond the footprint of the former Glanyrafon housing complex. That part of the site was not brownfield but greenfield and provided a valuable amenity area for the surrounding community. Policy DM13 of the adopted Blaenau Gwent Local Development Plan sought to protect open space from inappropriate development.
It set out tests to be met if development was located on open space. The Local Planning Authority considered the proposal in light of these tests. It was considered that that the site had intrinsic amenity and recreational value and there was no surplus of such areas in the locality. As the application did not seek to replace this loss nor did the development enhance the area, the development was contrary to Policy DM13. The acknowledged benefit of affordable housing did not outweigh this negative impact.