CONTROVERSIAL proposals for more than 600 homes that would “destroy” fields surrounding  Caerphilly have been rejected.

Persimmon Homes and PMG’s plans for land at Gwern Y Domen have been meet with thousands of objections, multiple protests and opposition from local and national politicians.

Around 50 campaigners and residents applauded as Caerphilly council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse planning permission on Wednesday.

Concerns were raised about the scheme being contrary to the council’s own planning policies, while also harming a special landscape area.

The meeting on Wednesday heard from Lyndon Wood, who has lived on a farm in Gwern Y Domen for 19 years.

He said: “The proposal will destroy the character of this special landscape area.”

Mr Wood told the committee that it would affect his family, particularly his wife who suffers from severe health issues.

“To live in a middle of a building site for five to severn years is just ridiculous, it would kill her,” he added.

Ward councillor Elaine Forehead questioned the over-reliance on the Caerphilly basin for new housing.

Cllr Forehead said: “We have a brownfield site at Waterloo [near Machen] which is less than a mile away from Gwern Y Domen.

“Caerphilly hasn’t got the infrastructure to cope.”

But Richard Mann, deputy chief executive of United Welsh Housing Association, said that people needed homes in the borough.

“I’m speaking on behalf of the 780 families who are on the waiting list right now who can’t access, that’s the reality,” he said.

“We’re just simply scratching at the surface, we need some large scale developments to address the problem.”

Tim Stephens, planning development manager at the council, argued that the development would satisfy housing demand – despite being contrary to the council’s own planning policies.

But committee members unanimously voted to dismiss the application which, if approved, would have been referred to the Welsh Government for a final decision.

Labour AM Hefin David and Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell have been vocal opponents of the scheme and said they would be ensuring the Welsh Government would stand by their own planning guidelines.

Mr David said: “It was good to see cross party agreement on the decision.

“It demonstrates that the community, regardless of politics, is united against this harmful development.”

Ms Jewell added: “I think all the testimonies that were given show the strength of public opposition to the proposals.

“There are already a number of sites in the borough with planning permission just sitting there, and we need to be bringing these forward.”

The committee’s decision has been deferred until the next meeting for reasons of refusal to be heard.

Jayne Garland, chairwoman of the Gwern Y Domen Conservation Group, said there was an “overwhelming” number of reasons for the application the be dismissed.

If the developers were to take the decision to appeal, Mrs Garland said she was “up to the fight” to prevent the development from happening.

She added: “We need to take back control from developers and put it back in the hands of our planners.”