THREE Labour councillors have asked Caerphilly council's planning committee to do a U-turn over controversial plans for up to 125 homes on the site of former council offices in Pontllanfraith.

Councillors went against the advice of planners on June 17 by refusing permission for the plans on the former Pontllanfraith House site.

A further report on the scheme will be submitted to the next planning committee on July 8 with reasons for refusal, which will allow councillors to decide whether to formally reject the application.

However, three Labour councillors - Jamie Pritchard, Roy Saralis and Carl Thomas - said they hope the planning committee will change its mind, as the application provides “urgently needed” affordable housing for families in the county borough.

The councillors all said that if this brownfield planning application is ratified for refusal at next month’s planning committee it would send a completely wrong message to those families most in need of housing.

“We have around 4,500 people on the council housing waiting list," said Cllr Pritchard.

“These families are in need of new council-, and low-cost affordable housing.

“As a Labour Party we should be unequivocal when it comes to building new social housing on brownfield sites that the local population can afford.”

Cllr Saralis said the application provides the best opportunity he has seen in the last eight years to provide social housing.


The Chartist Gardens scheme, a collaboration between Caerphilly council and housing association Pobl, includes 83 affordable homes, but it faced opposition over its impact on the neighbouring Sir Harold Finch Memorial Park.

The park was named in memory of the former MP who represented Bedwellty between 1950 and 1970, and it was designated a site of special scientific interest in 1987.

A petition to save it from housing development was signed by 1,308 people, saying building on the site would “alter the landscape forever.”

A planning report said the housing plan would encroach onto 1.4 hectares of the park, which is around 13 per cent of its overall area.

Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge said he was not opposed to the homes being built on the site but opposed the loss of open space.