Minister minded to allow a housing development in South Sebastopol
5:54pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Gwent news
Protestors outside county hall in 2011 in Cwmbran prior to a meeting about for proposals to discuss a large housing development in south Sebastopol (1321138)
THE minister who has the final say on giving the go-ahead to a housing development in South Sebastopol has said that he is minded to allow it.
A planning inquiry into the development was triggered when a consortium of developers appealed against a decision by Torfaen planners in 2011 to reject their scheme.
Torfaen council did not contest the appeal, led by Barratt Homes, and the decision whether to allow the building of 1,200 homes on a greenfield site was passed to the Welsh Government.
Last Friday, September 27, the Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant, who will have the final say on the matter, sent a letter to parties stating he is minded to allow the appeal and grant planning permission. This letter follows Mr Sargeant receiving a report put together by Inspector Clive Neale, who led the inquiry in January this year, who also recommended that the appeal be allowed.
Mr Sargeant writes: “I am minded to accept the inspector’s recommendations but I consider that before any planning permission can be granted a number of issues arising from the Section 106 Agreement need to be resolved.”
The chief officer for planning and public protection, Duncan Smith, said: “The council has received notification from Welsh Government that indicates the minister is satisfied with the application itself, but has raised some questions around the legal agreements that we will now consider.”
Developers and the council now have 21 days to address the minister’s concerns and a final decision is yet to be issued.
Torfaen Friends of the Earth member Carole Jacob, who has fought the plans to build on the site, which is at land to the west of Cwmbran Drive, said that the letter is ‘no surprise’.
She said: “We still regard it as a site not to be built on as it should be protected as people use it as a natural resource. Until every door is closed to us we will continue to fight the plan.”
She said that if planning permission is granted then Friends of the Earth in Torfaen will work to improve the housing plan on specific details so as to preserve as much of the site as possible.
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