Call for Welsh Government to put brakes on Tory council’s contentious housing plan
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
A Tory council’s contentious housing plans could take another twist after a request was made for the application to be decided by Welsh ministers.
Last month, despite dozens of objections, Monmouthshire councillors approved a ‘hybrid’ planning application for the development, which would see up to 155 homes built on fields either side of Vinegar Hill, in Undy.
The greenfield site is allocated for housing in Monmouthshire’s Local Development Plan, but there has been opposition to the housing plans for several years.
Concerns include the loss of green space, lack of infrastructure in the village and location of some of the homes near to the M4 – where planning guidance says “permission should not normally be granted”.
The plans include a full application for 72 homes on two fields, and outline permission for a further 83 on another parcel of land in the area.
Monmouthshire council’s planning committee approved the plans, despite concerns voiced from ward members and residents last month.
But a request for Welsh ministers to ‘call in’ the application has now been made following the decision.
A request for a planning application to be called in can be made before the council issues a decision notice granting planning permission.
Welsh ministers rarely call in planning applications, but they can do so if a proposed development appears to raise planning issues of more than local importance.
Contentious plans to build up to 111 homes in Raglan were called in by the Welsh Government in 2018, with Monmouthshire council’s decision to approve the application overturned.
A Welsh Government letter, written to Mark Hand, Monmouthshire council’s head of placemaking, regeneration, highways and flooding, confirms a call-in request has been made.
The letter directs the council not to issue a notice granting planning permission until a decision on whether the application will be called in has been made.
A Monmouthshire council spokesman said: “Welsh Government have had a request from a third party to review whether or not the planning application should be called in for consideration by the Welsh Minister.
“Monmouthshire’s planning committee approved the development proposal on land that is allocated for residential development within the council’s adopted Local Development Plan on January 11, 2022.
“Welsh Government will notify the council of their decision on whether or not to call the application in due course.”
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