1,200-home green belt plan back on agenda

First published in News

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 1,200 homes on greenfield land in Torfaen are set to be debated again this autumn.

Green campaigners have fought against the mammoth development near Cwmbran Drive, South Sebastopol, for 18 years.

Torfaen council rejected the plans in 2011 but Welsh housing minister Carl Sargeant overturned the decision after a planning enquiry in January.

The developers say they will create an "attractive" and "integrated" neighbourhood with "much needed" homes, retail and parkland providing the "foundations for economic success". Shops, a pub and sports facilities are all included in the plans.

Friends of the Earth originally collected 1,700 signatures against the proposals but decided to revise their approach after news surfaced Mr Sargeant was minded to approve the plans.

The developers, including Asbri Planning, have amended their proposals to address the campaigners’ concerns about access in Oaklands Road, Lowlands Crescent and the width of a canal corridor on the 100-hectare site.

Torfaen Friends of the Earth coordinator Carole Jacob, 71, said: “On the face of it we are pleased to see these changes but are still in the process of examining the full report.”

Torfaen council said a planning report would probably be produced for a decision to be made this autumn.

A council spokesman said: “An outline planning application was received on July 4.

“The applicants have amended the application in an attempt to alleviate some of the concerns and issues expressed during the determination of the previous application and subsequent appeal.

"Once the application is validated and registered, formal consultation will start.”

In a planning document submitted to Torfaen council the developers said: “This application revises the previous proposals to respond to the concerns of third parties at the planning appeal in January 2013.

“The development will deliver an important, sustainable and inclusive new neighbourhood for Cwmbran and Sebastopol.

“It will provide a range of new homes and accessible facilities including open space, a village core with a public house and local retail and two new sports pitches with changing rooms.

“The new development at South Sebastopol provides the opportunity to provide a contemporary development of much need new homes which will provide attractive and long-lasting places to live for years to come.”

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