Homes plan for ex-Chepstow forensic site
6:00am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
THERE soon could be little material memory of what was Chepstow’s Forensic Science Service as a plan has been submitted to clear its old buildings for housing.
Charles Church East Wales has asked for planning permission for 32 homes at the site off Usk Road.
It has been vacant since 2010 after the UK Government announced it was closing three regional laboratories, including Chepstow, because of £2m monthly losses.
The Forensic Science Service was used by the police forces and government agencies of England and Wales until its demise and its work was contracted out to the private sector.
The Chepstow closure went ahead with the loss of 168 jobs, despite passionate calls by politicians and 2011 head of Gwent CID Ray Wise to save it.
DCS Wise said the laboratory was "extremely beneficial” to Gwent Police and played a role in the "massive investigation" which was Operation Compass which saw three Vietnamese men jailed for a total of 23 years for the manslaughter of Tran Nyguyen in November 2006.
For some time now, there has been talk in Chepstow that homes would be built on the 4.3 acre site, where the laboratories were constructed in the seventies.
Charles Church East Wales held talks with the council in 2012 and it was decided developing the site for housing was acceptable in principle.
There is a requirement for 20 per cent affordable housing in accordance with planning policy and this amounts to six homes.
The developer suggests that a proportion of journeys between the site and Chepstow town centre will be on foot, as it is close by and able bodied people are capable of walking at least 2km a day.
The planning statement said: “It is important to note that the site is in an inherently sustainable location to create a new neighbourhood.”
A date is yet to be set for the application to be considered by the council's planning committee.
An application for a 60-bed care home was submitted for the adjoining site Racecourse Garage in 2008 but was withdrawn a year later due to concerns over the scale of the development.
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