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Council planning refusal overturned thanks to 20mph default speed limit

16 Jan 2024 3 minute read
20mph sign.

Twm OwenLocal democracy reporter

A council’s refusal of plans for a new home to be built on a busy main road have been overturned thanks to Wales’ new 20mph default speed limit.

The application for a modern three-storey house on an “infill” plot of land between two existing houses on Hardwick Hill, Chepstow, was initially rejected by Monmouthshire County Council’s planning committee in October 2022.

At the time planning officers said that although there was no objection in principle to the development in the Georgian conservation area, it had to be refused as the Welsh Government objected because the existing vehicle access to the field, which would also serve the new house, is from Hardwick Hill, which forms part of the A48 trunk road and is the main road into Chepstow.

But applicants, the owners of Hardwick Cottage, appealed to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales and an independent inspector said the new lower 20mph speed limit, introduced in September last year, meant the road safety objections were no longer valid.

30mph

Anthony Thickett, who visited the site in December, said in his report the Welsh Government highways department had objected based on national design standards related to vehicles travelling at 30mph or faster.

However Mr Thickett noted: “The speed limit when the appeal application was refused was 30mph, it is now 20mph.”

He said it is accepted vehicle movements will increase as a result of the development, but said the new 20mph limit meant vehicles could easily meet the required stopping distance and drivers exiting the entrance will have better visibility in both directions.

The report stated: “In these circumstances, insisting on a higher standard is unreasonable and unjustified. I conclude that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on highway safety and complies with policy.”

Application

The decision was reported to councillors at their January planning meeting and council planning officer Phil Thomas told the committee: “Much emphasis has been put on the reduced 20mph limit and the need for lower visibility splays and they can now meet these on this access.

“If it had been 30mph we don’t know if it would be the same decision.”

Wysham independent councillor Emma Bryn said: “I wouldn’t want to pull off a drive there, it’s very busy.”

Committee chairman, Caerwent Conservative Phil Murphy, reminded councillors they had considered the application before the 20mph limit had been introduced.

Inspector Mr Thickett refused the applicants any costs as though they had indicated they intended seeking them from the council they had only supplied their architect and highways consultant’s fees without any supporting information.

Costs are only awarded where unreasonably behaviour resulted in wasted or unnecessary expense and as no such argument was put forward Mr Thickett said he considered no application had been made.


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Catherine
Catherine
1 month ago

I will be interested to hear what R(ight) T(rude word) Davies and his friends the troll bots of the USA and Russia will have to say about this…..

No to 20mph
No to 20mph
1 month ago

“The 20mph that no one wanted or asked for and that has cost tens of millions to implement and billions to the economy, is great now because 1 house can now be built. All this demonstrates is the hypocrisy and corruption of our government, in the mists of a housing crisis they refuse planning over 10mph. Yet in years gone by when braking distances where longer there was no issue with building on roads even up to the national speed limit. Just justifying another application, more money in their pockets and author trying to spin it as a triumph when… Read more »

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago
Reply to  No to 20mph

I’d love to see the source of the financial costs that you’ve presented.Whilst you’re at it, perhaps could also furnish us with evidence of the corruption you’ve alluded to.
I won’t hold my breath.

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Well that link was an interesting read, no mention of cost or of corruption though.

Rwdlyn Pwdlyn
Rwdlyn Pwdlyn
1 month ago
Reply to  No to 20mph

How does the 20mph reduction cost billions to the economy?
There’s overwhelming evidence that it saves lives though…isn’t that more important thn getting somewhere a few minutes sooner?

Simon Hughes
Simon Hughes
1 month ago
Reply to  Rwdlyn Pwdlyn

Please produce your evidence that lives will be saved? You cannot do so because it does not exist The £Billions of pounds mentioned are from WG own report stating there will be a hit of between £4.5b and £9b! You may also like to know that the evidence that the WG relied on was taken from the 2019 – 2020 speed reduction policy in Spain where they argued the reduction in speed will reduce costs and fatalities. However their figures were based on the period which includes the Covid lockdown. However the Spanish government revisited the data for this policy… Read more »

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon Hughes

Firstly, the economic damage figures are over 30 years. Secondly, those figures also rely on the flawed assessment that every journey taking longer will cause an economic cost. Taking longer to get to the supermarket will not damage the economy. Taking longer to get into town will not damage the economy. Taking longer to travel to visit family will not damage the economy. Additionally, the Conservative dismiss economic forecasts are “always wrong” yet want to use this forecast to cudgel Welsh Government – they need to make up their mind whether forecasts are reliable enough to use. Furthermore, the economic… Read more »

No 20.No hope. You dont drive probably
No 20.No hope. You dont drive probably
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul ap Gareth

Noone is talking about brexit mate. Just stay at home and make it all up go on .

No 20.No hope. You dont drive probably
No 20.No hope. You dont drive probably
1 month ago
Reply to  Rwdlyn Pwdlyn

Well to employ people to take down the 30mph and replace them with 20 also adding 20 Mph signs in streets like its a candy shop.. im seeing 4 or 5 20mph signs on small dead end roads that go nowhere. I actually drive and it’s safe to assume that you probably don’t if driving 30mph is too quick or dangerous for you then you have no hope.. a car can stop if you are fully aware well before hitting anyone at 30mph. My car is from 2007 and it at 30mph would stop in a split second becuase it… Read more »

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago

Why do I get the impression that you’re probably one of those thought it was ok to exceed the speed limit when it was 30mph. Do you tailgate motorists that adhere to whatever the speed limit is just because you’ve got abs on all four corners ( I’d prefer them on my wheels myself) and think you can stop in a split second? Should you really be behind the wheel of a car with that mentality? Get a life before you take someone else’s

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago

Just reread this diatribe and picked up on the “anyone without a disability or extra chromosomes” bit. Really offensive.
Perhaps you should ask your carer to check what you’ve written before you post it.

Last edited 1 month ago by cablestreet
Motormum
Motormum
1 month ago
Reply to  Rwdlyn Pwdlyn

If the reason for this was to save lives, they could just have raised the age for folk to start driving. A crazy proportion of banned drivers are in the under 25 age range.

alun davies
alun davies
1 month ago

Lots of nonsense on here 20mph has cost me time and money stuck in traffic jams that never existed before if anyone thinks is isn’t doing the same to every other driver you must be barmy .I can’t imagine the cost to business in lost time and money get real get a grip

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago
Reply to  alun davies

I take it you don’t drive a hearse for a living.

John
John
1 month ago

We all managed to drive with safety and pedestrian in mind at any speed,I don’t see car’s with people stuck in the wheel arch or stuck on the bonnet, just let people enjoy driving, why do everyone need to tell others what to do, enjoy your day.

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