A FORMER pub could be set to become a series of affordable apartments. 

The New Forge Pub in Blackwood has been permanently closed since 2018, and a planning application has now been submitted to Caerphilly Council to repurpose the pub into 26 apartments.

This will be the second application submitted to the council, after an application to turn the site into a Co-Op and Greggs was originally put forward in 2018 shortly after the pub's closure. 

The application was submitted on Wednesday, December 20 following a period of public consultation from the agents LRM Planning which ended on December 13. 

The application was validated on Monday, January 8, and included a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) report in the documents provided, which details any issues raised during the consultation and how the developers have taken these into consideration. 

From the report, the comments have been able to be split into eight categories: amenity, access and parking, transport, need for development, design, infrastructure, ecology and existing properties. 

By some way, the biggest concerns are around the transport statement issued by the developers, with many people concerned how the expectation of residents to use public transport or to only have one car on-site will be enforced. It has been highlighted that the use of public transport "is not feasible due to the topography" of the area. 

The developers have made plans to ensure a clear footway to access the site from, and have said that the residents will have access to a cycleway and bus provision, which they say is detailed in the transport statement. 

In terms of the number of cars, the developer has said they do not expect families with more than one car to reside in the site, given it is made up of one and two bedroom apartments. 

Amenity concerns have been raised around the size and proximity of the building to existing properties. The developer has responded that the plans have been influenced by the "existing site layout" and the building has been kept as low as possible, including special dormer windows to "increase functionality of the space".

It has been stressed that "standard privacy and separation distances" have been respected when it comes to the impact on properties already in the area. 

The number of parking spaces has been highlighted with the developer firmly believing that the 27 spaces for 26 apartments is "sufficient" given the expected parking situation of residents, and the proximity of local shops and businesses within walking distance. 

Among other concerns include the lack of family homes, with the response being that the "mix of units" have been designed to "meet the needs of the community", and the inconvenience of machinery, which the developers promise will be "temporary" . 

The impact on the nature in the area was also a concern, with pipistrelle bats being found in the site during an Ecological Impact Assessment (ELA) which the developer says has provided recommendations on how to proceed without harming any wildlife, with no other notable animals found on the site. 

The council, coal authority, Welsh Water and South Wales Fire Service had all been consulted during this stage of proceedings, with their concerns noted and addressed through documents provided with the application and further approval sourced where necessary. 

If you would like to view the full application, complete with reports, drawings and further comments, you can do so on the Caerphilly Council Planning Portal, by using the reference number 23/0882/FULL.