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Welsh Government to review plans for new houses on wasteland in Monmouthshire

THE WELSH Government will review a decision to allow plans for nine new houses on wasteland in Undy. 

Monmouthshire County Council’s planning committee was urged by local councillors to reject the application for the site where a building known as the Tythe House, on Church Road, once stood. 

But the committee, who had already been told the Welsh Government intends to review the application having been contacted by a third party, gave its approval despite several members raising concerns. 

Committee member, Undy councillor, John Crook, said: “I think its quite clear and plain that we consider it to be an overdevelopment.” 

The Labour councillor said he was also concerned there would be no “demarcation” between the proposed estate road, within the development, and a footpath next to an existing home and running along the site boundary to the playing fields to the north. 

He said the path is used by between 200 and 300 children every Saturday and asked the committee to refuse the application. 

Cllr Angela Sandles, who also represents the Magor East with Undy ward, said she feared that if the occupants of the planned new house next to the path used their rights to put up a two metre fence it would create a “tunnelling effect” along part of the path which is recognised as a public right of way. 

She said she was also disappointed the council’s planning department hadn’t supported an objection from the rights of way officer who said it should be maintained at an assumed width of six metres. 

The Labour councillor said: “The Welsh Government requires local authorities to enhance, not reduce, walking and cycling routes.” 

Planning officer Amy Langford said the path followed a track in the ground and a three metre wide, paved path would still represent an improvement and the path is a local walking route rather than a specific active travel route as defined by the Welsh Government. 

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Local resident Sandra Lloyd said there was concern the four-bedroom houses would be overbearing on existing homes, with some being built at higher levels to address flooding concerns, and claimed that bin lorries would struggle to negotiate the access, though the committee was told a “hammer head” space had been designed which they could drive into, reverse and exit in a forward gear. 

Joe Ayoubkhani, for South Wales-based developers GHR Developments, said the plan meet all relevant planning conditions and development will also mean asbestos on site will be treated. 

He pulled out a retractable measuring tape to demonstrate to the committee the width of the three metre path and told them “it’s ample distance for walking, cycling and the rest of it.” 

Independent councillor for Wyesham, Emma Bryn, said she shared the concerns of the local councillors. 

She said: “I really can’t see how reducing a footpath from six metres to three just by tarmacking it can be an improvement and to have this tunnelling might make people nervous to use it. I think it is one house too many.” 

The plans also include two two-bedroom affordable homes, which will be managed by housing association Melin Homes.

The committee approved the application with a condition that consideration is given to removing permitted development rights from the house next to the right of way, which would maintain the proposed fencing at 1.8m and one metre heights. 

The Welsh Government will have 21 days to review the decision and the council cannot issue a decision notice until it knows whether the government will call in the application meaning it could decide whether permission should be granted.