More than a dozen external storage units will be removed from an industrial estate in Cwmbran, after planning permission was refused by Torfaen council.

However, the future of the remaining 30 is yet to be decided after an appeal was lodged to keep them on site.

Storage Giant, which has a facility at Ty Coch industrial estate in Llantarnam, had a planning application for 46 external storage units refused in 2018 by Torfaen County Borough Council and a subsequent appeal was dismissed.

They have since re-submitted the application with 30 storage units, which was again refused by the council and an appeal has been lodged.

Despite changes, the council refusal report said: “The units on the southern boundary, by reason of their highly visible location within close proximity to the highway are considered to represent an unacceptable visual intrusion at odds with the prevailing character/pattern of development of the area which in turn has an adverse visual impact and undermines the spacious appearance of the area.”

However, the application is retrospective as the storage units have already been built. Currently the company has conceded that 16 will have to be removed, however if they lose their appeal then all 46 will have to be removed from the site.

The application had been submitted after the warehouse reached full capacity.

The outdoor storage units would stop the need for Storage Giant to relocate to a new premises or open a new premises “which is financially demanding and could be unsuccessful due to the new location”.

The design and access statement highlights the importance of “open air environments” following the coronavirus pandemic. 

It says: “Their operation does not require the use of enclosed shared spaces, staff interaction and their siting is within an open, fresh-air environment.

“Although the main storage facility has been made safe through the actions listed above, the external storage units are inherently safe, ensuring customer safety and peace of mind.”

As part of the plans, there is a reduction in car parking spaces from 34 to 22 but the council did not raise concerns about this. 

The appeal statement says: “The units are in situ, so the application was retrospective. 

“If allowed, the appeal proposals would result in the retention of some of the external drive-up storage units, though some would be removed.”

It says the main issue is the impact of the plans on the character and appearance of the area.

It acknowledges that two units to the southern boundary would be considered unacceptable but any further loss of storage units “would result in further businesses having to vacate the site, and would limit the ability of Storage Giant from supporting local business to expand”.

The company says it supports around 130 clients including the British Heart Foundation, Lotus Care and Born Afon Housing Association.

A decision on the appeal is expected in the coming months.