PLANS to build 70 houses on land in Tonyrefail have been approved by councillors.
Planning consent for the construction of 70 affordable homes on a parcel of land to the east of Hafod Wen, Tonyrefail was given by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee on Thursday, February 9.
The development, on what is an allocated housing site, will be on behalf of the Registered Social Landlord (RSL) Rhondda Housing Association.
The site will be landscaped to form four plateaux, with access proposed from the adopted highway via Hafod Wen and constructed in two phases.
Phase one will include eight one-bed flats (of which two will be adapted), eight two-bed bungalows, two two-bed flats, two two-bed houses, three three-bed houses and four four-bed houses.
Phase two will include two one-bed flats, 22 two-bed houses, 11 three-bed houses and eight four-bed houses.
The report said the site layout demonstrates that off-street car parking would be provided in line with the council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance and there is a “significant amount” of open green space.
Soft landscaping plans have been provided comprising plant and trees and extensive areas of wildflower grass.
The report said that many of the properties would benefit from a rain garden, in addition to the other sustainable drainage features
This application is a revision of a scheme submitted initially for 76 houses.
The application was later amended twice to reflect concerns raised by consultees relating to ecological matters and the proximity of the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) on the adjoining land to the north-east.
The planning report said the application property is a parcel of land to the north-east of Tonyrefail which incorporates a surface area of around 2.7 hectares and is designated as an allocated housing site by the current LDP (Local Development Plan).
The site is made up of mostly unimproved grassland, but its eastern and southern boundaries include a large group of mature trees and scrub.
The report said there is a considerable fall in level from north to south as shown by the proposed “plateau” arrangement of the new dwellings.
There is existing residential development at Hafod Wen immediately to the west of the site and at Investiture Place to the south.
The land to the north and east is open countryside and designated as a Special Landscape Area and to the north-east is a SSSI.
The site is within the defined settlement boundary, is located partly within an area designated by the Coal Authority as high risk to development and is also within a sandstone safeguarding area.
At the committee meeting, Councillor Wendy Lewis said the development includes a “very good mix of housing” and that it will be “good for residents of Tonyrefail requiring affordable housing” and “to be able to get out of worse housing into something much better.”
She asked if the council could make sure to keep an eye on the Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) to ensure there are no breaches.
Councillor Gareth Hughes said: “The argument around pressure on services I don’t buy.”
He said it would provide housing for local people who are living in RCT adding that “we face a housing crisis” with 5,000 on the housing register and 1,000 allocated last year.
He said pressure is growing and that the site is allocated for housing
A petition with 77 names was received, objecting to the development due to lack of infrastructure and poor access.
Further letters of objection or representation from seventeen people were received raising concern over highways, the principle of the development and ecology among other issues.
Tonyrefail Community Council said it, together with local residents, is extremely concerned in respect of highway safety, in view of the increase in traffic accessing and egressing the housing estate onto Capel Hill; particularly since the entrance to the estate is so close to the brow of the hill.
In recommending approval, officers said: “As a non-strategic housing allocation site, the site is sustainably located and the principle of residential development has already been established by the current LDP.
“Since then, there have been no material changes to local or national planning policies which would outweigh that designation.
“The proposed development of 100% affordable housing would provide a
considerable contribution towards meeting local housing needs.
“The design and layout of the development is considered acceptable in terms of its appearance, impact on neighbouring occupiers and highway safety.”
Later in the report it said that: “A key benefit of this application is the number of properties that will be constructed to address the need for social housing as part of the overall housing requirement set out by the LDP.
“Indeed, if this were an application for a market development it would have
to deliver a total of 350 dwellings in order to provide the same number of affordable homes as this development will.
“Whilst it is recognised that the development will result in the loss of a green field and will, therefore, completely change the character of the site; its status as a housing allocation, together with the proposed design and layout and location of the neighbouring residential properties, means that it would not be considered to have a detrimental visual impact.
“In addition, the layout of the development would be considered not to affect the amenity of existing residents to an unacceptable degree and in terms of highway safety, the introduction of the traffic calming scheme being implemented on Llantrisant Road, helps to address such concerns, particularly in respect of the existing junction with Hafod Wen.
“Lastly, the range of conditions and Section 106 requirement for ongoing habitat management is considered acceptable to ensure that the development would not be harmful to the SSSI designation on the adjoining land.”
The Community Infrastructure Levy contribution for this development is expected to be £355,389.12 but social housing relief may be claimed on the social housing element of the development and therefore no CIL would be payable.
The section 106 requirements will be to ensure that the houses are established and maintained as affordable units for the continued purpose of meeting identified local housing needs, to provide a habitat management plan for the long-term care and maintenance of the SSSI mitigation and buffer areas and to secure a developer contribution of £70,000 for off-site play provision at Capel Hill.