Torfaen homes plan gets green light
10:56am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in Pontypool news
A PLAN for thousands of homes to be built across Torfaen got the go-ahead last night.
An extraordinary meeting of the local authority was held yesterday afternoon over the adoption of the Torfaen Local Development Plan (LDP) 2006-2021, following approval by an independent inspector.
Amended changes outline that the plan will provide 4,700 homes across the area, meeting changing market conditions on a variety of earmarked sites, including Greenfield sites at South Sebastapol, Llantarnam and Llanfrechfa Grange.
Only four councillors objected to the plans, though the meeting heard some people held "massive concerns" over it.
But chief officer for planning and public protection, Duncan Smith, said if the LDP was not approved by councillors, it would be imposed on them by the Welsh Government.
The figure has been revised from an original 5,000 home total, due in part to the ‘impact of the economic downturn’, said the report presented to councillors.
It also said it had considered the difficulties in reclaiming land at The British, while reduced numbers of dwellings on County Hall and the former Police College were also taken into consideration.
But Mr Smith said this was not down to the Welsh Government dictating to the council.
He said: “This is our plan. It follows Welsh Government policy, obviously, but it had been tested by an independent inspector.”
Presenting the plan, Robert Murray, principal planner, added: “We decided the reduced number is a more realistic target, which would not jeopardize the objectives, provisions and aims we want to deliver.”
Concern was raised over the allocation of housing in South Sebastapol throughout the meeting.
Resident Rosemary Fisher, membership secretary of Torfaen Friends of the Earth, asked for assurances that the housing allocation for South Sebastapol would not rise above the 1,200 figure laid out.
In response, Mr Smith said: “Because of the broader allocations in the plan there will be no requirement to increase that allocation.”
It was also asked by Carol Parry, secretary of Llantarnam Village Residents Association, how the plan would seek to prioritise the use of brownfield sites over green spaces.
Mr Smith replied: “The plan and its site allocations have been found to be sound. The aim now is to deliver them, irrelevant of a green-brownfield basis.”
Various councillors thanked officers delivering their plan for their hard work.
Cllr Gwyneira Clarke said she was “glad” the plan was finally going to be adopted.
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