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Controversial affordable home plan near Brecon refused

The development site known as Caemawdy Slough is just outside Bronllys (Pic: UK Grid Reference Finder)

CONTROVERSIAL plans to agree the principle of building an affordable home near Brecon have been refused.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, January 11 councillors discussed an outline planning proposal by Sarah McCarthy for land known as Caemawdy Slough, just outside the village of Bronllys.

An added complication with this application is that Welsh Government Planning Inspectors are mulling over an appeal by Mrs McCarthy.

This is against enforcement action taken by the council for “temporary residential accommodation” at the site that doesn’t have planning permission.

The family do have permission for buildings associated with carpentry business at the site.

The application was in front of councillors after it was “called in” by local Powys county councillor Tom Colbert.

Senior planning officer, Kate Bowen said: “We have received a request to defer the application to allow more time to submit more information to support this application.”

Mrs Bowen believed the applicant been given than enough time to submit the necessary documents.

Mrs Bowen added: “There has been a request for a site visit, that is only taken in exceptional circumstance, and in this instance, it is not considered exceptional to warrant a site visit.”

Mrs Bowen explained that this is because the “visual and landscape impact” of the dwelling is not the part of this application.

She recommended that councillors refuse the application.

At the meeting applicant Mrs McCarthy said: “The (Covid-19) pandemic’s aftermath on the housing market means that in recent years, we like many other locals have struggled to find suitable rental properties or affordable homes to purchase within our area.”

Due to this shortage Mrs McCarthy said that she “feared” the family would become homeless if they are unable to live too far from their business, family, and support network.

Mrs McCarthy said: “We have already obtained planning permission and wider SAB (sustainable drainage) approval for commercial premises on this site.”

Living on site would help alleviate “security concerns” with the business which also includes farming, explained Mrs McCarthy.

They also own a pedigree flock of sheep and need to be on hand for lambing at the site.

In light of a damming report into the council’s Planning department published by Audit Wales last year, the quality of planning applications received by the council has been identified as a source of concern.

Cllr Heulwen Hulme pointed out that councillors had discussed these concerns and what constitutes a “good” planning application.

Cllr Hulme said: “Good is when you submit a concise detailed planning application not what is in front with us today.”

Cllr Heulwen Hulme

Committee Vice-Chairman, Cllr Gareth D Jones said: “I totally agree I would move heaven and earth for people who want to stay in their communities, it’s everything we stand for.

“We’ve heard there’s a lack of information, there’s so much here that’s not come before us to give us any possible chance of supporting this.

Cllr Jones added that with “regret” he would move the committee to a vote to support the recommendation of refusal.

Cllr Gareth D Jones (Pic: Powys County Council)

The committee voted unanimously to refuse the proposal.

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