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Welsh Government to keep close eye on controversial 504 housing scheme in Pontarddulais

The proposed layout of Persimmon Homes West Wales's 504-home estate in Pontarddulais (Pic: Persimmon Homes)

THE WELSH Government is to keep a close eye on controversial plans for 504 new homes in Pontarddulais.

It has issued a so-called holding direction to Swansea Council, which prevents planning permission being granted until ministers have decided whether or not the application should be called in for their own determination. The direction does not prevent the council from continuing to process the application or from refusing it.

Persimmon Homes West Wales is behind the proposal for land south of Glanffrwd Road, east of Ty’n-Y-Bonau Road and west of Glynhir Road. It said the development would include 50 affordable houses and flats, with open market properties including 206 three-bedroom houses and 142 two-bedroom ones.

The site is earmarked for housing under the council’s local development plan (LDP), but the proposed road layout has prompted considerable opposition. That’s because the LDP required anyone who developed the site to build an internal spine road from Glanffrwd Road to Ty’n-Y-Bonau Road and Station Road, which planning officers said would ease congestion in the town and re-route HGV lorries from existing residential areas.

Persimmon Homes’s application has identified a main access from Ty’n-Y-Bonau Road and a secondary access from Glanffrwd Road. This would be joined together by a bus link only, although the company said it could be widened in the future if more land came forward for housing. A planning statement on behalf of Persimmon Homes claimed that council officers have been “positive” in their response to the bus link proposal because other measures like car clubs and more cycle path provision were proposed.

The LDP said the site, which includes land outside Persimmons Homes’s control, could accommodate a total of 720 homes and that a new primary school, employment space and leisure facilities would be part of the overall mix. Persimmon Homes’s application is for detailed consent for 504 homes, including a park and a community building, and outline consent for a primary school. It said no homes would be built within 25m of a large water main which runs through the site.

Pontarddulais town councillor and mayor, Catherine Evans, said a majority of councillors were against any development of more than 10 homes. “This is on a different scale,” she said, referring to 504-home proposal.

She felt the full spine road as envisaged in the LDP should be delivered by Persimmon Homes, rather than the bus link option, and that in her view the proposed estate would not be affordable for young people in the area.

“We used to have industry, now we’ve mainly got retail, a large Tesco, and three schools,” she said. “We’re just becoming a commuter town.”

Persimmon Homes said the energy-efficient properties wouldn’t need a gas supply, and that if planning was approved improvements would be made to the Water Street-Station Road junction and the Alltiago Road, Pentre Road, and St Teilo Street junction. It said it would also contribute towards an all-weather 3G pitch at Pontarddulais Comprehensive School.

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A spokesman for the company said: “We are proud of the work that has gone into our planning application to bring over 500 high-quality, much-needed new homes, and are confident that the merits of the scheme will become evident during the call-in process.

“Given the strategic natures of the site, it is not uncommon for the Welsh Government to take an interest in such a scheme, as we know from another site in Swansea recently that was eventually approved, and we look forward to working with them to deliver these new homes.”