PLANS for up to 250 homes in Ebbw Vale have been approved for a second time – but the developer will not have to pay a single penny towards the community.

Approval for outline plans for a development at the former Rhyd y Blew Reservoir site on Beaufort Road had been approved in 2014 subject to a Section 106 agreement – through which the applicant agrees to pay a specified sum to the council to be used for green space, schools, roads or other facilities in the area.

While the education department requested more than £1.6 million, the original application was approved with a contribution of £625,000. But not the council’s planning committee has agreed that no contribution for education and leisure will be required by the developer.

MORE NEWS:

A review conducted by an independent party confirmed that the scheme would not be viable if the developer was required to pay funds as part of a section 106 agreement.

The section 106 agreement also required 10 per cent of houses in the scheme to be affordable – this remains the same. It is expected that this 10 per cent would be in the form of social rented houses.

Despite the scrapping of a financial contribution, the Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee heard that there would be no impact on schools.

Several councillors raised concerns over the lack of a financial contribution. Cllr Bernard Willis said it was a “double standard” and it wasn’t fair to other developers.

He said: “This 106 agreement was put in place initially and it should be adhered to.

“I cannot see this is honestly justified because we are setting a precedent.”

Cllr David Wilkshire said he wanted houses in the county borough but not at any cost.

However, Cllr John Hill called for the committee to be flexible and said they should be encouraging 250 homes to be built.

Now that outline permission has been granted it will be down to the developer to submitted a further application with reserved matters, which would include plans for the houses, access and other material concerns.