FIVE new affordable homes to be built on an area of public open space near housing in Cwmbran have been given the green light. 

Housing association Bron Afon, which already owns most of the homes in the Thornhill area, has been given permission to develop a parcel of land beside Hafren Road at its junction with Sirhowy Court. 

The steep, grassed corner plot forms part of the entrance to Thornhill, and the Graig Fawr woodland, which is a site for the importance of nature conservation, is behind it. 

The land will be levelled with the housing in two blocks which will include two, two-bedroom houses, one three-bedroom house and two one-bedroom flats. 

Comments received during the planning consultation included concern at the loss of public open space, and that one objector picks litter from the area to keep it tidy, as well as the impact on nearby properties. 

Torfaen Borough Council planning officer Justin Jones said there would be 18 metres distance between the gardens of the new homes and those at Sirhowy Court and they would be angled to avoid loss of privacy and there would be no overlooking windows. 

As the new homes would be two-storey it isn’t considered they would be overbearing. 

He also said the loss of open space could be justified to meet the demand for 149 affordable homes in Cwmbran every year and that the development won’t take up all of the available space. A legal agreement will require Bron Afon to pay £22.029 towards play equipment, likely to be at the nearby Monnow Court play area and the Sirhowy Court multi use games area. 

His report stated: “Whilst there would be a reduction of the open space it is considered that the remaining space and the surrounding area would still provide sufficient space for residents to enjoy. In addition, additional funds for formalised play equipment would be sought which would provide wider benefits for existing residents and future occupiers.” 

A planning condition will also require ecological mitigation on other land in the applicant’s ownership and new trees will be planted while the legal agreement will also ensure the properties remain as affordable homes. 

A standing stone, placed to mark the development of Thornhill, will remain in place and access will be from Sirhowy Court.