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Appeal for 60 homes plan in Upper Brynamman rejected

Land off Cwmgarw Road, Upper Brynamman, where outline plans for 60 houses have been dismissed on appeal (Pic: Google Maps)

PLANS for 60 houses in Carmarthenshire’s Upper Brynamman have been dismissed on appeal because of their impact on the area’s ecology and biodiversity.

The homes were proposed on south-facing land off Cwmgarw Road, just under a mile from Bannau Brycheiniog – formerly Brecon Beacons National Park – and most of it has been allocated for housing.

Outline plans submitted to Carmarthenshire Council in 2022 said the development would consist of terraced, semi-detached and detached homes – at least six of which would be designated as affordable – areas of green space, with access from Cwmgarw Road beside The Tregib Arms. The developers also said ecological measures would be implemented to more than make up for the habitat which would be lost.

Cwarter Bach Community Council said it had serious concerns about the development due to the number of houses proposed, implications for road safety, and the potential loss of wildlife and plant habitats.

An objector, Julie Rodway, said people needed homes but “not at such a cost”. She added: “The location of such a large development in the peaceful river valley is not in the right place.”

Carmarthenshire Council then turned the outline application down on grounds including adverse impact on “priority species and habitats”. The applicants appealed, and the case has now been decided by a Welsh Government-appointed planning inspector.

The inspector, Paul Selby, said developments should be designed in a way to provide a net benefit for biodiversity. He said the new estate would retain some ecological features but that broadleaved woodland and marshy grassland – both protected habitats – would be lost.

Mr Selby said the applicants had identified “compensatory enhancements” on land nearby, but he added that details were lacking and that it wasn’t clear how it would be managed in the longer term. His decision report said: “There is also little clarity on the extent of broadleaved woodland which may need to be removed or the measures required to enhance the quality of existing woodland.” There was no certainty, he said, of net biodiversity benefit.

The inspector said he acknowledged the shortage of homes in Carmarthenshire, and said the development would help address this. He also said proposed financial contributions towards education, youth and recreational facilities would be of benefit.

“Nonetheless, neither these nor the other matters raised outweigh the identified substantial harm and conflict with the development plan in relation to ecology and biodiversity,” he said.

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