ALMOST 150 homes will be built on the site of the former Gwent County Council headquarters after plans were unanimously approved.

County Hall in Croesyceiliog was demolished in 2013 before the land was sold to Kier Living last year, with the developer promising a ‘high quality’ scheme.

Torfaen council’s planning committee backed the residential development but members had questions regarding school capacity, pollution and pedestrian safety.

Concern was also raised about “short-lived trees” being planted in front gardens of the proposed properties, with one councillor fearing a “desert wasteland of concrete”.

Councillors were told on Tuesday that out of the 143 houses, there will be 41 two-bed houses, 58 three-beds, 30 four-beds and 14-one beds.

South Wales Argus: A site plan of the 143-home development. Pic: Kier Living/WYG GroupA site plan of the 143-home development. Pic: Kier Living/WYG Group

The development will give rise to 42 primary school children and 23 secondary-aged pupils, prompting Cllr Jason O’Connell to ask if schools had enough capacity.


Richard Lewis, head of development management at the council, said: “The site has been allocated for development since 2013 and the education department are aware of these proposals.

“They’ve set up their strategy to make sure that when these developments come online, there is capacity available.”

Kier Living will also pay £316,200 towards local schools to allay any capacity issues should they arise.

Cllr Gwyn Jenkins expressed concern around the safety of schoolchildren walking to and from or alongside the development off Turnpike Road.

The developer has proposed a zebra crossing but the council will continue negotiating for a signalled Toucan crossing.

Cllr Steve Evans had concerns about noise and air pollution cause during construction, but he was told that a construction management plan setting out hours of operation and dust control was forthcoming.

Much of the site’s ecology, including mature trees, a stream and existing ancient woodland, will be preserved under the proposals.

But Cllr Jon Horlor said some of the species of trees that would be planted by the developer were small and short-lived and would affect the development’s appearance.

He said: “I’m not happy with the longevity of the tress, it’s going to look like a desert wasteland of concrete.”

The meeting heard that the number of short-lived – or ornamental trees – has been reduced by the applicant, while a greater level of native trees will be included.