New homes for Trevethin site approved
1:13pm Sunday 29th September 2013 in News
124 new homes are set to be built on the former Trevethin School site after Torfaen council approved the plans yesterday (Tues).
Only five councillors; Independents Kelvin Hartnett, Elizabeth Haynes, Mike Jeremiah and Mike Harris and Plaid Cymru’s Jeff Rees voted against awarding planning permission for the homes subject to conditions.
Barratts Homes will now develop the council owned site, building a mixture of detached, terraced and semi-detached houses, as well as flats.
Most of the homes would be two stories high but on the north side of the site the plans do include a three storey block of apartments.
Torfaen will benefit to the tune of more than half a million pounds worth of section 106 money, money provided by the developer to improve community amenities.
That money will include £200,000 on improvements to road infrastructure in the immediate area, £25,000 to build a bat house for the three species currently living in a derelict chapel on the site which will be pulled down and £91,470 on new play facilities.
The existing neighbouring woodland would also be maintained.
The vote was eventually far more straight forward than it threatened to be after the marathon debate in the council chamber.
Five local objectors to the planned highlighted serious concerns about the road networks ability to cope with the extra traffic, especially given the majority of the houses are large family homes likely to attract more than one car.
But Torfaen’s chief traffic officer, Paul Wheeldon, said repeatedly: “ Ican’t stress this enough and I’m sorry to bang on about it, but it is not the responsibility of this application to solve all the ills, and I accept there are some, in the road network.”
Torfaen’s chief planning officer Duncan Smith went further.
In an empassioned response he said voting against the application was effectively drawing a line through the borough saying they would not develop north of Pontymoile because all the road infrastructure was old.
He said there had been a dearth of development in the north of the borough and that this was a chance to regenerate the area.
One resident who spoke, Phillip Davies criticised the timescale of the building work, saying the 5-6 years allowed was too much for residents to suffer while Simon Watts questioned whether the roads and schools in the area could cope with the influx of extra people.
Those opinions were widely reflected in councillors of all parties comments during the debate, but the leader, Cllr Bob Wellington said simply: “There’ll be an appeal.We’ll lose. And it will cost the council a fortune,” if they voted against as there were no good planning grounds on which to object.
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