Appeal starts over Sebastopol housing plan
3:40pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
AN APPEAL started yesterday by developers who had plans to build 1,200 homes on a greenfield site in Torfaen rejected.
The planning inquiry will last until at least the end of the week, and will hear the appeal from developers including Asbri Planning, Barratt Homes and the Welsh Development Agency, who want to develop on land at South Sebastopol.
Torfaen council rejected the outline planning application in July 2011, but will not contest the appeal.
Torfaen Friends of the Earth (TFOE), which has been battling for 16 years to protect the land, will be contesting, along with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, and Pontypool Community Council.
The group has received 1,757 signatures on a petition opposing the plans.
The council said it believes the reasons for refusing the original application can be met by planning conditions should it proceed to a full planning application.
At an extraordinary meeting back in October, controversial plans to develop on the only remaining green space between Sebastopol and Cwmbran were put back on the agenda after the council reinstated South Sebastopol to its local development plan, having removed it in February 2012.
TFOE will be giving evidence on Friday and is appealing for anyone against the plans to attend the inquiry at Pontypool Active Living Centre. The group’s co-ordinator, Carole Jacob, said: “Torfaen Friends of the Earth exists to support all those who oppose unsustainable development on greenfield sites, so this is a landmark occasion for all those who have issues on this principle.”
The Welsh Government planning inspector will have to put forward his recommendation for a ruling on the appeal by ministers, before a full planning application can be submitted.