CONCERNED residents from Caldicot who oppose the proposed construction of up to 130 homes near a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) have taken their objections to the Welsh government, who will now review the proposals before deciding whether to call in the application.

The proposed development would take place off Church Road, between Caldicot and Caerwent.

At a planning committee meeting on November 6, Monmouthshire County Council gave the Church Road site outline planning approval, along with two other sites in the county – one in Raglan and one other near Portskewett.

Regarding Church Road, the developers have previously said there was a “significant undersupply” of housing in the area and that the homes, if built, “would bring economic benefits to the town” during and after construction.

But residents say it is unfair the council is not adhering to its development plan and claim the planning committee did not give sufficient weight to their concerns at the November 6 meeting.

More than 150 residents have joined forces online and in person to oppose the plans.

Following the planning committee meeting, representatives from the group wrote a letter of complaint to the county council in which the residents said they had “lost total faith in the democratic process” because of the way the authority had handles the planning application.

The Free Press previously reported in June how the proposed Church Road development fell outside the county council’s local development plan (LDP).

At the time, the council said it lacked the five-year housing supply which the Welsh government insisted local authorities had to have.

This inadequate housing supply, the council added, had to be given weight when deciding on planning applications.

Speaking to the Free Press this week, one member of the residents’ group said it was unacceptable the council could backtrack on its own LDP.

“What is the point of the LDP? The planning officers put years into it and then councillors just go around it,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s fair a policy can be broken just to suit the needs of the council.

“Policy and standards have got to be adhered to. How are the general public supposed to have faith?”

In their letter of complaint to the council, the residents’ group also objected to the way the November 6 planning meeting was conducted.

Speaking this week, one man who attended the meeting said: “What surprised me was how there was no debate.

“Our councillor raised loads of points and [the planning committee] didn’t address a single one.

“Some of our objections were raised three times – by the residents’ representative, our councillor, and the town mayor – but [the committee] didn’t care. It was as if they’d stood up and spoken in Swahili.”

The residents’ group also fears for the future of the neighbouring SSSI, which is home to diverse range of wildlife and birdlife each spring. The group also believes the roads near the proposed development will be too dangerous – during and after construction – for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

One local woman invited planning officers to her home to see how precarious the traffic situation was in its present state.

She said: “Over the last months, the number of cars around here has gone up dramatically.

“When parents are picking up their children [on Church Road], it’s a nightmare.

“There’ll be one road in and out of that development. There’s going to be an accident.”

The area’s AM, John Griffiths, has taken the group’s concerns to the Welsh government, which has 21 days to review the application and make a decision.

Mr Griffiths said: “Many local residents have let me know their concerns over this proposed development and that came across very strongly at the public meeting.

“As their representative, I have made sure the planning authorities were fully aware of those views.”

Monmouthshire County Council was contacted for comment.