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Welsh Government to make the final decision on major housing development in Cardiff

An artist's impression of the proposed housing development for land between Lisvane, Pontprennau and Cyncoed in Cardiff (pic: Taylor Wimpey)

PLANS for a huge new housing development in Cardiff have taken a major step forward.

Cardiff Council’s planning committee approved plans to build 2,500 homes on land to the south of the M4 between Lisvane and Pontprennau at a meeting on March 2.

However, the granting of full planning permission is subject to a decision by the Welsh Government on whether or not to call in the application for a final say.

If it goes ahead, the housing development will include a primary school, land for a secondary school, restaurants, supermarket and a GP.

Residents and local councillors raised concerns about the development potentially causing disruption in the area. It is proposed that the site will surround the Churchlands housing development.

At a Cardiff Council planning committee meeting on Thursday March 2, ward member for Lisvane and Thornhill, Cllr Emma Reid-Jones, said “Lisvane’s road infrastructure is already at breaking point”.

Speaking on behalf of the five ward members of Pontprennau and Old St Mellons and Lisvane and Thornhill at the Cardiff Council planning committee meeting, she added additional concerns to this, saying: “With existing building under way, our fantastic local schools are already oversubscribed.

“We understand from officers with current planned phasing, it will be at least five to 10 years before additional primary and secondary school places are made available.

“Using the council’s figures published this week, Llanishen High is 12% oversubscribed for September 2024.

“I need to ask, where are the children moving into the area expected to go?

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“Our current GP surgeries are also at capacity and simply do not have the scope to take additional patients.

“This could lead to many new residents being unable to register with a local GP.”

Another potential issue raised by Cllr Reid-Jones was around the idea that the development might be deemed unnecessary after it was revealed in March 2021 that population growth figures in Cardiff had been overestimated.

The population of Cardiff had initially been expected to grow by about 38,400 people between 2018 -2026. After the Welsh Government revised the forecasted population for 2026, the expected increase was shown to have dipped to about 8,600.

The council said the 2021 census data will play a role in informing the new Local Development Plan (LDP). A consultation on a preferred strategy for the LDP won’t take place until the summer.

Cllr Reid-Jones added: “We believe there are important issues around our schools and health centres, the infrastructure, transport and ecology, which we feel have not been addressed.

“Myself and four other councillors all agree. we don’t oppose the building of much needed houses, but we need to learn from mistakes made from previous developments and not repeat them.”

A member of the planning committee, Cllr Adrian Robson picked up on the issue raised relating to the council’s LDP.

He said: “We are now a number of years down the line where we have evidence to show that trends that were anticipated back then are not being met.

“We are now going to go through a replacement Local Development Plan process.

“It means to my mind that we have allocated sites in the LDP that we didn’t need to allocate, for better or for worse.

“If I were to come to the committee now and say that I propose a refusal because I don’t think this is a site that needs building on because of the weight of evidence based on completion rates, based on census figures that we had recently etc. where would we be at?
“It sits uncomfortably with me now doing this.”

Cardiff Council planning officer, Simon Gilbert, said: “The current replacement LDP cannot be a material consideration of this committee until such time as it is formally adopted which we anticipate to be much later in 2025.

“Until such time, the LDP remains part of the development plan with the national plan, so this committee needs to consider it within the context of the adopted LDP policy.

“I do understand that when we were producing the current adopted LDP we didn’t have an up to date LDP and as a consequence of that there wasn’t land in the landbank… I think this is different now.

“This will be a migration from an existing LDP to a replacement LDP, whereby those sites that do benefit from planning permission which realistically will be built within both planning periods will form part of that allocation.”

He later added: “The current LDP is adopted, it is primary material planning consideration in these types of applications for housing and this site forms part of an allocated site with a comprehensive master-planning process.”

In response to Cllr Reid-Jones’ comments, council officer, Tim Walter, said: “In terms of the provision of education and health, this application as I have mentioned in my presentation, it will deliver 10 hectare school site, a secondary school and a primary school which are much needed in the area.

“Obviously it is a phased development and the delivery of the schools and the health provision is a matter that will be looked at in detail in the drawing up of the section 106 agreement.

“But, what is before you in the report has been consulted on with colleagues in the health board and also within the council’s school team in terms of the appropriate time for those necessary infrastructures to be provided.”