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Council to defend planning appeal after application to build business park on family farm was rejected

20 May 2023 3 minute read
Model Farm. Photo LDRS

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

Vale of Glamorgan Council will defend a planning appeal made against it after it decided not to approve a controversial proposal to build a major new business park.

Developers behind the plans to build a business park on land at Model Farm in Rhoose lodged an appeal against the council to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) on the basis on non-determination.

The council’s planning committee met on Thursday, May 18, to discuss what its reasoning behind not approving the planning application would be.

Members of the committee decided that they would like to back up their decision on the basis that the application for a business park intended for the aviation industry would go against the Welsh Government and council’s declaration of a climate emergency.

However, the committee’s external advisors recommended that extra time be afforded to consider and prepare the wording for the reasons for refusal.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council said it was therefore intended for the matter to be brought back to the next planning committee meeting on May 25.

Climate change

Speaking during the meeting, Cllr Ian Johnson said: “This is probably the most controversial application regarding climate change that this planning committee will deal with under the current local development plan.

“I believe that that should be tested and I believe the Welsh Government should also be considering their position on this.

“If this is allowed through then I don’t see where the limits come in terms of planning and that climate emergency which they have declared.”

Kelly Ball, Rhys Jenkins and their two daughters, and Gethin Jenkins, at Model Farm. Photo Gareth Williams,

The potential loss of heritage was also a factor that councillors agreed to back up their decision on. Model Farm has been worked on by the same family, the Jenkins, since 1938.

Another member of the planning committee, Cllr Charles Champion, said he remembered officers arguing at a previous meeting on Model Farm that the gain of 6,000 jobs through the business park would be “higher than the heritage loss”.

Cllr Champion added: “As a committee we decided that that balance was probably not right.”

As part of its plans, the developer, Legal and General, said it would give about 49 hectares of land to extend Porthkerry Country Park.

Green space

However, councillors and campaigners still claimed that the development of a business park would negatively affect biodiversity and green space in the area.

“Within the plan there were mitigations,” said Cllr Eddie Williams, who voted to support the application of the business park during the planning committee’s meeting on March 1.

“For me, [the Jenkins] had been given an opportunity to move… they would have been given the opportunity to continue doing what they were doing.”

Even if the planning committee had approved the application on March 1, it could not have given the final go-ahead for the development.

The council’s decision was subject to a holding direction from the Welsh Government which restricted the granting of planning permission until a decision had been made on whether the application should be referred to Welsh Ministers.

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