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20 home plans at controversial site in Tredegar approved

The former sports pitch near Ashvale Sports Club where 20 homes could be built (Pic: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)

PLANS for 20 homes at a controversial site in Tredegar have been given the thumbs up by Blaenau Gwent councillors.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Wednesday, July 10 councillors received an application by Darren Hillman to build 20 homes at land next to the Ashvale sports club, Griffiths Gardens in Tredegar.

The site earmarked for the 20 homes in this image is to the right of Ashvale Sports Club (Pic: Google Earth)

The proposal is for 10 four bedroom homes, seven are set to be five bedroom properties and all these are to be sold on the open market.

The remaining three units would be set aside as “affordable homes” and will consist of one two bedroom property and two one bedroom flats.

The developer had been asked by the council to enter a legally binding section (s) 106 agreement to deliver community benefits.

Requests for donations of £37,752 for primary and £57,685 for secondary schools have been made by the council’s education department.

A further request for £69,760 to go towards upgrading or refurbishing play areas in the ward have also been made by the council’s leisure department.

How the homes could look (Pic: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)

Planning officer Helen Hinton explained that the site has a significant planning history.

In 2017 a planning application for 18 homes was refused by councillors on the Planning committee due to highway safety issues,
A year later in 2018 the decision was overturned by planning inspectors with “significant costs” awarded against the council.

This is because planning inspectors believed councillors to have “behaved unreasonably” in rejecting the application.

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Ms Hinton said: “No objections have been received to the proposal in its latest form, there is national and local planning policy supporting the principle of development.”

“The loss of land for sports use has been established previously as acceptable.”

Due to this she advised councillors to approve the scheme.

Cllr Wayne Hodgins said: “Has a viability assessment been done on the s106 agreement as I don’t want us coming back in a couple of months time and re-negotiate.

“It’s a significant contribution, I want a bit of reassurance that it will be followed through.”

Cllr Wayne Hodgins (Pic: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council)

Committee chairwoman Cllr Lisa Winnett said that assurances “can’t give any guarantees or assurances” on any s106 agreement.

This is because developers could return to the council in “six months, a year, two years time” and say that a scheme is not viable due to the request.

Ms Hinton said: “There is no denying that this is a hefty request.

“I put it to the applicant and the agent, and I was fully expecting a lengthy discussion and debate about viability.”

The developers had told her that they think the request is “reasonable “at this moment.

Ms Hinton said: “They think this scheme can accommodate this request and have agreed to proceed on that basis.

“In an ideal world I would hope the agreement would be signed really soon, but in the event, there is a request to vary the contents of the s106 it would need to be a new application.”

Ms Hinton added that any fresh planning application due to any issue with the s106 agreement would return to Planning committee for councillors to decide.

Ms Hinton said: “Fingers crossed that they have done their sums, we’ll see what happens.”

The committee then moved to a vote and councillors backed the scheme unanimously.

A sustainable drainage application also needs to be approved before building work can start.