A COMMUNITY council deliberately did not consult residents over a plan to develop a field for housing, a Planning inquiry heard.

The planning inquiry began yesterday into an appeal against a refusal by Newport council planning committee to grant Rogerstone Community Council outline planning permission for Bethesda Field to be used for 22 homes.

Newport council argued, at the city civic centre hearing, that the proposal would harm the character of the landscape.

But the inquiry heard claims that the site has no important visual environmental qualities.

The Argus previously reported that the council wanted to sell the land to use the proceeds to improve other sites in the village.

Phil Williams, barrister for the Bethesda Field Action Group, told the inquiry that Rogerstone Community Council “specifically, deliberately” did not consult residents.

“The residents were continually told ‘no comment’ for a couple of years,” he said.

Suella Fernandes, barrister for Newport council, said the appeal had to resolve whether the scheme would affect the visual merits of the surrounding area.

She said the proposal would detract “markedly” from the setting of Cefn Wood “being an unsympathetic and discordant feature adjoining (its) border” and would be at odds with the existing open character of the site.

Morag Ellis QC, representing Asbri Planning on behalf of Rogerstone council, said the appeal site has been, for many years, let for horse grazing with no public access.

She said evidence from one individual who earlier produced an appraisal of the site’s landscape concluded the site did not exhibit important visual environmental qualities.