APPLICATIONS for planning permission made after work has been carried out are making a councillor “uneasy”.
John Crook, who is a member of Monmouthshire County Council’s planning committee, said he had noticed “a lot more” retrospective applications in the past 12 months.
He told the committee, which was discussing a part retrospective application for permission to “re-open” a gateway to a field, he had no objection “in principle” to what was being proposed.
But the Labour councillor for Magor East with Undy said: “I’ve noticed over the last 12 months a lot more retrospective applications. As a planning department we need to get quite clearly across to future applicants I’m uneasy looking at retrospective applications. Are we being seen as a a little too easy or allowing too much through?”
Committee chairman, Caerwent Conservative Phil Murphy, said rules state if a retrospective application is in line with policy, and would have been approved had it been made in the normal way before work has started, then it must be approved.
Craig O’Connor, the council’s head of planning, said retrospective applications are a “concern” as a development will have taken place “without the benefit of planning consent” but added: “We’re not here to penalise people for doing work without planning consent and some people may be unaware.”
However he said there hasn’t been a spike in such applications in Monmouthshire and said “this is the same amount we get every year and we have trends going back decades.”
He added: “I don’t have any concerns retrospective applications are going up and the local authority will take enforcement action if work is considered to be unacceptable.”
The committee approved the application to re-open the gateway, submitted by Clive Hughes, to a five-acre field at Treetops, Talycoed Road, Llantilio Crossenny near Abergavenny which is adjacent to Llantilio Court, and opposite the grade II listed Talycoed Farmhouse.
Green Party councillor Ian Chandler, the local member, had asked for the committee to consider the application and said residents were concerned a hedge had been removed leading to a loss of biodiversity and at increased traffic.
Planning officer Phil Thomas said the trees that had been removed were either of poor health or vulnerable but new ones would be planted and said planning officers didn’t consider a traffic survey necessary but would have if a “more intensive land use”, other than agriculture, been proposed for the field.
He said there would be 60 metre visability splays in both directions from the entrance and said: “It is a deregulated stretch of highway. In theory you could do 60 miles per hour there but would be silly if you did as the lane is too narrow and with high hedges.”
The application was approved.