News

Council quashes plans to concrete over family farm to build business park

13 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Kelly Ball, Rhys Jenkins and their two daughters, and Gethin Jenkins, at Model Farm. Photo Gareth Williams,

Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter

Vale of Glamorgan council has quashed its decision to grant planning permission to turn a family farm into a 45-acre business park.

Legal issues have emerged around how much information was included in the planning report, and decision on Model Farm, taken two months ago, is now the subject of a judicial review.

It will be considered by a court and could go back to the planning committee for another decision.

Model Farm, east of Cardiff Airport and north of Porthkerry Country Park, has been farmed by the Jenkins family for four generations.

They were asked to leave their farm by the end of July next year as the landowners want to build an industrial estate there.

A campaign group set up to save Model Farm is quickly gaining thousands of supporters, raising money for legal fees to appeal the decision, and planning a protest by the Senedd.

Politicians have slammed Vale of Glamorgan council for granting planning permission, which in the same month declared a ‘nature emergency’ and pledged to protect the environment.

Legal and General want to build a business park on the farm, to serve the aerospace industry. The financial services company was granted planning permission in July, but the controversial decision was criticised for its impact on the local environment and biodiversity.

The Jenkins family said they were devastated by the decision in July. But the latest turn of events throws the future of Model Farm into question.

An email from Councillor Jonathan Bird, chair of the planning committee, was sent to all councillors on Monday, September 13, explaining the news.

He said: “Having taken external legal advice, the council has consented to quashing the planning permission, due to not having adequately dealt with the assessment of the need to disclose viability information within the officers report.”

‘Profit’

Viability information relates to how much profit developers can make off a large planning application, and how much money they need to provide for local public services and infrastructure through Section 106 rules.

A Vale of Glamorgan council spokesperson said: “The council has received a letter setting out the grounds for a judicial review application in relation to the planning approval granted for this development.

“Having considered the contents of that letter with its legal team, the council has agreed to consent to the application to quash its original decision.

“If the court approves the order quashing the original decision, the planning application will be returned to the council to redetermine following full consideration of all relevant matters.”

The news was welcomed by Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies, who is a Vale councillor and Senedd Member for South Wales Central. He warned the errors could undermine confidence in the planning process.

He said: “The decision to grant permission at Model Farm was a betrayal of Rhoose and surrounding villages, so I am extremely pleased it has been quashed.

“But there are serious questions for the council to answer. Residents’ confidence in the process was already low and these significant errors will make it even more fragile.

“This decision proves the councillors who voted to turn down planning permission were absolutely right to do so. The council must reject the application when it comes back before the committee.”

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