TORFAEN residents have raised concerns over some of the proposed sites in the council’s replacement Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP).

More than 1,300 residents have now signed a petition calling for the proposed development at Craig y Felin fields in Croesyceiliog to be scrapped.

And residents in Llanfrechfa and Ponthir have also called on plans to develop a mediparc, hotel and conference centre, local service centre, school and 1,200 homes on a partial greenfield site near the new Grange University Hospital.

Around 900 residents have signed a petition set up by resident Amy Bubela against the development.


“The [Planning Policy Wales 2018] document clearly states Wales is setting down the route of being more environmentally friendly with regards to development,” she said. “I am appalled an area of natural importance to Ponthir and Llanfrechfa is even up for consideration of development.

“Since the new hospital has opened, the river level in Ponthir has changed. Flooding in the fields has occurred this year already, let alone with this development plan.

“It is endangering the health and wellbeing of residents, and forcing developments will strain the education system, infrastructure, and health system in the area.”

Hannah Bateman, who set up the ‘Save the Circus Fields’ group, said: “I just can’t understand how it hasn’t been scrapped by Torfaen council.

“Craig y Felin is in direct conflict with half of the RLDPs own objectives (see below).”

The assessment of the Craig y Felin site in Torfaens Replacement Local Development Plan.

The assessment of the Craig y Felin site in Torfaen's Replacement Local Development Plan.

When asked about the Craig y Felin development, a council spokesperson said: “The council is currently consulting on the Torfaen Replacement Local Development Plan which will guide the use of land in the borough until 2033.

“Issues relating to the potential development of the site are part of the consultation and it is anticipated that a virtual public meeting will be held in relation to this site in the near future.

“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the consultation is expected to be extended further than the existing closing date which is March 26.”

Around 90 residents took part in an online Zoom meeting, organised by Gruffudd Parry, the Welsh Conservative Senedd candidate for Torfaen, where key concerns were raised about the impact of the plans.

“These plans are a direct risk to the very fabric of our community and I was heartened by the public reaction,” he said. “As a local teacher, the mental health and wellbeing of all children is of paramount importance and we do not want a Torfaen with no green spaces for our children to grow up in.”

The residents’ concerns were brought up by Laura Anne Jones in the Senedd, who asked minister for housing and local government Julie James how the Welsh Government was working with local authorities to ensure local development plans do not choose sites which impact negatively on the community and environment – in particular referring to plans to build on greenfield sites.

“It makes no sense, and it flies in the face of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014,” said Ms Jones.

In reply, Ms James said she had written to local authorities telling them they had to review their LDPs in accordance with the newly published guidance in the ‘Future Wales’ framework and the reissued ‘Planning Policy Wales’ guidelines.

“The planning process itself takes you through an examination in public - in order to enable the public to be able to probe or question or make sure that the evidence is available, to make the plan as robust as it can be.

“So, the very fact that you know about it, and that people are able to challenge it, shows me that the position is working.”