NEATH Port Talbot Council’s planning committee has approved plans for a controversial housing development at a former school near the town of Port Talbot this week, despite a number of concerns from local residents.
The plans for new homes at the former Dyffryn Lower Comprehensive School in Devonshire Place, Port Talbot, were agreed to at a special planning committee in April, after members decided to progress the proposals follwowing a vote of ten councillors to one.
It could now see the construction of 43 affordable properties built on the site by developers Linc Cymru, along with an internal road network, landscaping, and additional car parking.
The application that went before the committee described the plans that include a mixture of two-storey houses and three-storey apartment blocks, made up of of 18 one-bed flats, six two-bed flats, eight two-bed houses, and 11 three-bed homes. Council officers also confirmed that 25% of these would be secured as affordable housing.
However, some councillors in attendance felt there were a number of issues with the plans due to changes to previously approved proposals, that had been made since the land was sold on to Linc Cymru.
Those in opposition also discussed concerns with increased levels of traffic, road safety, the impacts on parking and drainage, as well as the effect the three story apartment blocks could have on the street scene and visuals in the area.
Port Talbot Councillor Saifur Rahaman said: “This application fails on its street scene impact, it fails on highway safety, it fails with lack of sufficient parking, and it fails our community.”
Cllr Rahaman also noted the high volume of public interest in the application, noting that more than 70 people had submitted written objections to the authority’s planning portal after the public consultation.
Officers however recommended the application for approval after it was deemed to have met all planning standards and requirements, and visually reflected the area without any overbearing visual or privacy impacts.
The school site, which is based in a densely populated residential area, was fully vacated in 2018 and has been left derelict since it closed, with developer Linc Cymru describing the location in their plans as “significantly underutilised.”