CAMPAIGNERS against the development of the last green space between Cwmbran and Pontypool vow to keep fighting for its protection after a Welsh Minister gave housing plans the go-ahead.

Minister for housing and regeneration, Carl Sargeant, has permitted the plans to build 1,200 homes on a greenfield site in South Sebastopol by allowing an appeal led by Barratt Homes.

This follows a planning inquiry into the development, which was triggered when a consortium of developers appealed against a decision by Torfaen planners in 2011 to reject their scheme.

Torfaen council did not contest the appeal and the decision was passed to the Welsh Government.

The final decision followed a report by Inspector Clive Neale, who led the inquiry in January last year, who also recommended the appeal be allowed.

In the minister’s minded to allow letter, he highlighted reservations regarding the legal agreement between the developer and Torfaen council.

Torfaen Friend of the Earth member, Carole Jacob said she was not surprised by the decision but still very disappointed.

She said: “It will impact greatly on residents through loss of green space, loss of bio-diversity and increased traffic on the roads.

"We are losing a beautiful piece of land that is the only green space between the existing communities, which people use for walking and the land itself filters the air and water.”

Fellow Torfaen Friend of the Earth member, Corinne Jones added: “I am extremely disappointed to hear the inspector's decision. However I shall fight each and every detailed planning application on this site. I aim to do everything I can to keep as much of the site as unspoilt as possible.”

Ms Jacob, who has fought the plans to build on the site since 1996, added: “As a group we are not turning our backs but want to limit the damage done by the development to achieve the best possible outcome, even though we are still opposed to it.”

A Torfaen council spokesman confirmed following the Welsh Minister’s decision, it is Taylor Wimpey’s intention to submit a new outline planning application.

He said: “The primary changes between the schemes will be downgrading the southern access to a bus and pedestrian access only and providing for a greater buffer between the proposed development and the Canal Conservation Area.”