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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Major housing development on former comprehensive school site approved

Artist impression of the proposed homes on the Oakdale Comprehensive School Site (Pic: CCBC)

A MAJOR development on the site of a former comprehensive school will go ahead despite some local opposition.

Councillors on Caerphilly’s planning committee this week gave their unanimous approval to the redevelopment of the former Oakdale Comprehensive School site.

Classrooms were demolished there after the school closed in 2017 and pupils moved to the new Islwyn High School, around a mile to the north.

Oakdale Comprehensive School in 2016 before demolition (Pic: Google)

The land has stood mostly empty since then, and will now become the site of 82 new homes, the majority of which (44 properties) will be classed as affordable housing.

Oakdale Comprehensive School in 2021 after demolition (Pic: Google)

Outline planning permission was secured in March 2022, approving the disused school site for residential redevelopment.

Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning committee this week approved a reserved matters application, covering details such as the homes’ design and layout, as well as the landscaping of the proposed development.

The committee’s backing of the plans is essentially the final approval, but the council’s cabinet will also be asked to endorse the local authority-led scheme later in October.

Cllr Shayne Cook, the cabinet member for housing, has backed the council’s “flagship” project as a forward-thinking homes scheme that prioritises energy efficiency.

The homes will include “innovative design features to ensure energy costs are kept to a minimum for residents, while also reducing carbon emissions”, he said following the committee’s decision.

But the plans have also met a degree of opposition within the local community, and 13 people responded to neighbour letters, outlining their objections.

Criticisms ranged from the size of the development to road safety, and from antisocial behaviour to pressure on local schools. There were also concerns the proposed homes could overlook existing properties in neighbouring streets.

Objectors also claimed building work would lead to the loss of trees, as well as increased noise and disruption, and an impact on local wildlife – the site should be “green space for the use of residents”, they said.

Council documents show the new development will include two green areas, and a “significant number of trees” will be planted as part of the project.

Officers also judged the new homes were “considered to be far enough away from the existing dwellings in the vicinity of the site not to be overbearing nor to have an unacceptable impact in terms of privacy”.

The layout of the new homes is “considered acceptable in respect of highway safety”, the council said, adding there was “no particular reason the development would create additional levels of antisocial behaviour”.

And education officers in the council have also confirmed “sufficient places exist at local schools for pupils in the catchment area”.