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Politics Rhondda Cynon Taf

Plans to build 460 houses in Rhondda Cynon Taf are due to go ahead

PLANS to build more than 400 homes on land in the south of Rhondda Cynon Taf are due to go before councillors.

The application from Taylor Wimpey proposes 460 homes on land to the west of the A4119 at Cefn yr Hendy.

At the meeting on Thursday, January 26, the council’s planning committee will consider reserved matters approval including the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development which includes a local centre.

The application was due to be considered on Thursday, January 12, but the meeting was postponed.

Outline planning permission has already been granted in February 2018 for the development and an application for a time extension was approved in May 2021.

The application site is made up of around 19.8 hectares of land formed in an L shape around and to the north of the established residential development at Cefn y Hendy, Miskin.

Of the 460 homes, 368 would be for private sale, 30 would be affordable housing intermediate units and 62 would be social rented properties.

The main access to the proposed development has already been approved in the original grant of outline planning permission and its subsequent renewals using the existing roundabouts on Ffordd Cefn Y Hendy.

The current submission also seeks the discharge of conditions related to the grant of outline planning permission which cover the phases of the development, landscaping, the wildlife protection plan, habitat management plan, site levels, external finishes, drainage, protected species mitigation, public rights of way improvements, noise, construction environmental management plan and electric vehicle charging.

The Local Development Plan designates the woodland and open space as both a special landscape area (SLA) and site of importance for nature conservation (SINC).

There are also designated regionally important geological sites (RIGS) to the north and east of the site. The site is not subject of an air quality management designation but the Mwyndy Air Quality Management Area lies nearby.

The planning report said that the site is made up of a series of fields defined by hedgerow and some key mature trees.

At the moment, access to the site is gained through Ffordd Cefn Y Hendy the principal road serving as access to the existing estate.

A public right of way crosses the site in a northerly direction towards Llantrisant and a second public right of way runs through the woodland adjacent to the western boundary of the site.

The report said that the estate itself is a relatively recent development that has come forward over the last 25/30 years for the most part.
The estate is also home to Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Gymraeg Llantrisant and the report said that in the wider area, and within approximately half a mile of the site boundary, there are a number of amenities.

Objections

There were 49 responses to the initial consultation commenting and objecting to the proposals and following changes to the proposals a further round of public consultation was done which saw a further 16 objections.

The concerns raised related to planning policy issues, highways and transport issues, amenity issues, health issues, design related issues, physical infrastructure issues, social infrastructure issues and ecology issues as well as some other concerns.

The planning policy issues raised are related to the layout which objectors said “makes a mockery of the Local Development Plan process and is a breach of trust by RCT.”

They also said that the application documents confirm that a green wedge would be placed between new and existing properties and this is not included in the current layout.

Another concern raised is that the Local Development Plan requires that development should have no significant impact upon the amenities of neighbouring occupiers and that development should be compatible with other land uses in the area.

They said that the current design is incompatible with other uses in the locality and a new resident arguing nuisance as a result of agricultural activity would have an adverse impact on the amenities of the resident of Cefn Parc farmhouse with a potential that it could end over 150 years of agricultural activity at the property.

They said the design adjacent should be reconsidered to meet the objectives of compatibility with the adjacent use.

Another objection said that the replacement Local Development Plan is yet to be delivered and to comment on this application in isolation of those details and still further approval is premature while another said that the site is designated green belt and should not be built upon.

The highways concerns included that the access represents an unnecessary danger to children and pedestrians, noise and dust pollution, the fact that local infrastructure cannot cope with more traffic, with not enough parking to serve the flats and calls for traffic calming measures in the area.

In terms of amenity, issues include concern over the distance between the development and existing properties, noise, properties potentially being overlooked, loss of views for existing residents and pollution concerns.

Health issues include concern about overstretched healthcare services in the area, the loss of open space with its impact on people’s well-being and more emissions from more cars and the impact on air quality.

Design concerns focus on potential flooding, overshadowing, loss of light and the potential impact on the character of the area.

Physical infrastructure concerns include the presence of old mine workings, drainage and sewage disposal concerns and the need to keep the public right of way accessible.

Social infrastructure issues centre on the removal of open space adding that there insufficient open space included in the proposals, the local school is oversubscribed and that  losing outdoor space to the provision of new classrooms and school provision to serve the development needs to be reconsidered.

Objectors said that original plans included proposals for a community centre, doctor’s surgery and a school and there remains a desperate need for these facilities in the community as existing facilities at Talbot Green and Pontyclun are insufficient.

Ecology issues raised included the argument that no decision on the application should be made until summer the ecology survey and especially the bat survey is reported and made public, and that the removal of trees and hedgerows gives insufficient consideration to the impact on ecology, wildlife and the environment.

They claim that residents have witnessed field mice, bats, and birds of prey using the site and to suggest there is no evidence is simply wrong. It added that there is concern about the loss of oak trees and ancient woodland and that the land is very biodiverse and in constant use as a village green.

The reason for recommending approval

In recommending approval, the planning officers said in the planning report: “The principle of the proposed development has been established under the original grant of outline planning permission 16/1385 and its subsequent renewal under 20/1196.

“The details submitted in respect of reserved matters are considered acceptable as are those relating to the discharge of conditions other than as stated in the report below.

They also said: “The application is considered to comply with the relevant policies of the Local Development Plan in respect of the key characteristics requiring consideration in this application for approval of reserved matters.

“Members will note that the public have raised a wide range of issues in respect of these proposals many of which were addressed at the outline planning application stage.

“In this instance however the planning balance falls in favour of approving these submitted details as the proposal is considered to meet the key policy requirements in relation to appearance, landscaping layout and scale, and are also deemed reasonable in terms of all other material planning considerations.”

The contributions from the developer

The full Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) liability for the site including the retail development is £6,117,771.96 though this might be subject to reduction if the applicants claim a social housing exemption, the report said.

In terms of Section 106 contributions, the report said the Section 106 agreement in respect of this site was concluded at the outline planning application stage and renewed with the subsequent Section 73 application.

It requires 20% affordable housing, a local centre, a a long term management plan for the management of open space to the north of the site and the ecologically sensitive areas of the site, green space and play areas for management and maintenance in accordance with the council’s supplementary planning guidance, an employment skills training plan and a financial contribution of £90,000 towards additional park and ride facilities at Pontyclun railway station.

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