TORFAEN council will no longer be “pushed around” by developers who flout planning laws, council leader Anthony Hunt has said.

The warning came as the county borough council agreed on a resolution to a long-running row over the unauthorised removal of a section of hedgerow in Cwmbran.

Developer Taylor Wimpey sparked fury among residents when a section of hedge next to St Dials Road was removed by the developer in breach of planning law.

The house builder had been given planning permission for the first phase of a 219 homes development at the former police training college site in December 2015, with a condition attached requiring for a section of hedgerow to be retained.

Following the breach, a petition was launched signed by 173 people and submitted to the council in June of last year.

And at a full council meeting on Tuesday, councillors heard that a resolution which involves reinstating the hedgerow had been agreed.

Cllr Hunt (Labour, Panteg) said the debate around the issue had been ‘useful’ for the council to “put down a marker”.

He said: “We do need to put a marker down to say we are not going to be prepared to be pushed around by large developers who think they are perhaps more powerful than the council is.

“I am concerned we make sure that developers are made to stick to what they are allowed to do and don’t ride roughshod over that.”

Cllr Ron Burnett (Independent, Two Locks and Henllys) said he would like to see “heavy penalties” put on developers who flout the law.

And Cllr Norma Parrish (Labour, Panteg) added: “We are all aware that in future we need the conditions specifically requested by committee to stop this happening in the future.”

Cllr Jason O’Connell (Independent, Greenmeadow) said his biggest concern from the issue was the developer’s ‘disregard’ of residents’ views.

However he said he was pleased that the developer had sent a letter apologising for its actions.

Head of planning and development Richard Lewis explained that the council’s policy is to negotiate with developers before taking any enforcement action “as a last resort.”

Mr Lewis said penalties are in place if necessary and that the council takes measures to check that planning laws are not being breached.

Work to reinstate and improve the hedgerow will start in September and will be closely monitored by the council.

“I do believe we have achieved the best possible outcome for the future of the hedgerow,” Mr Lewis said.

Planning permission for the works was granted last month.