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  6. Major Welsh housing scheme blocked

Major Welsh housing scheme blocked

Torfaen councillors have refused plans to build 1,200 homes on farm and woodland in south Sebastopol, a Pontypool suburb, against the advice of officers.

At an extraordinary meeting councillors voted 21 to 12 to refuse the application from a consortium involving Barratt Homes, the Welsh Development Agency (now defunct), Asbri Planning and Crest Strategic Projects Ltd.

The proposals included up to 1,200 dwellings, a village core area, sustainable transport links, formal sport pitches and changing facilities, play areas, and cycle and leisure trails within an extensive green infrastructure.

It also featured landscape buffers, including areas of retained and enhanced woodland and conservation grassland, plus the incorporation of existing Public Rights of Way within the development.

The updated and amended planning application for the south Sebastopol site was submitted to the council in February after earlier plans dating from 2001 were approved subject to an s106 agreement. This legal agreement was not completed for a significant length of time and therefore this planning application wasn’t determined.

Huw Llewellyn, technical director for Barratt Homes, said the company was "considering its position” regarding an appeal and noted that the council was informed by its own planning officers that an appeal on a refusal would be "very likely" to succeed.

He said: "The consortium proceeded with the application in good faith based on established planning policy principles.

"The application and over a decade of work and investment in the development by the consortium have been jeopardised by the committee attempting to overturn decisions it ratified only a few months ago."

The vote to refuse the development is due to be ratified by a meeting of the full council in September.


Roger Milne

28 July 2011