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Monmouthshire Politics South Wales

Plan for new home in Undy, Monmouthshire, rejected over affordable housing failure

Part of the access road to the house named Pathways (pic: PEDW planning file)

A FAILURE to agree a payment towards affordable housing has meant a couple have lost an appeal that would have allowed them to build their own home. 

Peter and Sonia Whitfield’s application for planning permission was turned down on highway safety grounds and due to a failure to enter a legal agreement with Monmouthshire County Council on a contribution towards affordable housing. 

They had wanted to build a two-bedroom detached house on a piece of land on the private access drive to a house named Pathways on Vinegar Hill in Undy. 

Monmouthshire planners said the access wasn’t suitable to accommodate existing homes and the one proposed. 

The couple, who had proposed improvements to the access, appealed the refusal to the Welsh Government’s Planning and Environment Decisions Wales body and an independent inspector found there wouldn’t be a harmful effect on highway safety. 

However inspector Ian Stevens still upheld the council’s decision to refuse permission due to the lack of a legal agreement on affordable housing. 

He wrote: “I have found that the proposal would not give rise to harmful effects on highway safety. Nevertheless, the harm and associated policy conflict associated with the absence of a completed legal agreement to secure affordable housing provision represents a compelling reason why planning permission should be withheld in this instance.” 

The couple were “agreeable to the principle of providing for affordable housing” but felt is should be paid after planning permission was in place while Mr Stevens said the council’s policy was in line with Welsh Government advice that in agreement be in place as part of the permission. 

The decision was reported to Monmouthshire council’s May planning committee where Magor East and Undy Labour councillor John Crook said he was disappointed the council’s highways objections hadn’t been upheld. 

Head of planning Craig O’Connor said if a new application was submitted to the council it would now be “in position to provide approval”, as a result of the appeal, if an affordable housing contribution was in place.