Torfaen will not fight Sebastopol housing appeal
8:00am Saturday 29th December 2012 in News
TORFAEN council will not contest the appeal from a consortium of developers which had its plan to build 1,200 homes on a greenfield site rejected.
At an extraordinary meeting in October controversial plans to develop on the only remaining green space between Sebastopol and Cwmbran, which had been rejected in July 2011, were put back on the agenda after the council reinstated South Sebastopol to its Local Development Plan (LDP).
Torfaen Friends of the Earth, which has been battling for 16 years to protect the land, collected 584 signatures against it being used for housing and presented its petition at the three-hour long extraordinary meeting.
But members were left disappointed when councillors voted 22 to 17 to put it back in the LDP, after it was removed in February.
A planning inquiry is set to be held in January 2013 to hear the appeal from a consortium of developers, including Asbri Planning, Barratt Homes and the Welsh Development Agency.
The council has been considering its position since the extraordinary meeting and has now decided it will not be contesting the appeal.
A spokesman for Torfaen council said: “Following two extraordinary council meetings and South Sebastopol’s reinstatement into the Local Development Plan, the council has entered into negotiations with the applicants for South Sebastopol regarding the decision to refuse the outline application for the site.
“Following these negotiations, the council and applicant have written to the Welsh Government planning inspectorate to confirm that the council will not be contesting the appeal scheduled for January 15.
“We believe the reasons for refusal can be met by planning conditions and a Section 106 agreement should this proceed to a full planning application.”
The council said the appeal and planning inquiry will still take place and the inspector will have to put forward his recommendation for decision by ministers, which must happen before a full application for the South Sebastopol site can be submitted.
Speaking after the extraordinary meeting in which South Sebastopol was reinstated, Torfaen Friends of the Earth co-ordinator Carole Jacob said: “The planning appeal does not just involve the developers, it also includes us, along with more than 1,500 signatures of people who opposed the original plans.”