PLANS to build 70 houses on land in Tonyrefail are due to be decided by councillors.
Full planning consent is being sought for the construction of 70 affordable homes on a parcel of land to the east of Hafod Wen, Tonyrefail and it is due to go before Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee on Thursday, February 9.
The development, on what is an allocated housing site, would be on behalf of the Registered Social Landlord (RSL) Rhondda Housing Association.
The site would be landscaped to form four plateaux, with access proposed from the adopted highway via Hafod Wen and constructed in two phases.
Phase one would include eight one-bed flats (of which two would 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 would 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.
Why people are objecting to it
A petition with 77 names has been received, objecting to the development due to lack of infrastructure and poor access.
Further letters of objection or representation from seventeen people have been received raising concern over highways, the principle of the development and ecology among other issues.
On highways, they said that the exit/entrance on to Llantrisant Road is not suitable for any more traffic, due to the lack of vision, bend, traffic speeds and disadvantageous camber.
They said the roads through Hafod Wen would be compromised with the potential of an additional 150 vehicles or more using it adding that it was never designed as a thoroughfare.
They said they are very unhappy about construction traffic travelling through Hafod Wen.
The objectors said the access should be somewhere else, the road is too narrow, Tonyrefail is already a bottleneck for traffic leaving thee Rhondda Valleys, the public transport links are poor and there was concern about the safety of children who play near the site.
On the principle of development, they said too many houses have been built in Tonyrefail in the last 10 years and they do not need any more.
They raised issues such as the lack of infrastructure and that doctors, pharmacies and dentists cannot cope adding that there are not enough nursery places in the community and class sizes are increasing.
They said the local hospital is at breaking point and the police station is rarely manned appropriately and another point was that the lack of such housing is equally bad (possibly worse) in nearby areas such as Porth and Gilfach Goch thaan in Tonyrefail adding that the transport links in Porth, in particular, are “way superior” to those in Tonyrefail.
The ecology concerns include that precious areas like the SSSI need to be preserved and the development needs to make sure that it would be protected as ecosystems are fragile.
There is a claim that the developer felled trees where bats were roosting and another comment said there is an abundance of natural wild habitat on the proposed development field where you can see wild butterflies and kestrels gliding above looking to feed and that it would be a huge loss to the community and the wildlife that live there.
Other concerns included noise and mess, a lack of communication from the developer, sewage system concerns and concerns over privacy as a result of overlooking.
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.
Why officers think it should get approval
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 would 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.