Developer wants to build over 200 homes in a Swansea valley
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A developer wants to build clusters of eco-homes in a valley in Swansea and is keen to hear people’s views about it.
Short Bros Homes Ltd is proposing just over 200 houses on 50 acres of land in the Cockett Valley, Waunarlwydd, in what it described as a low-density parkland-style project which would help meet local needs.
Michael Kavanagh, development director at the Llanelli-based company, said the homes would be high quality, very energy-efficient, have an electric vehicle charging point each, and only take up around seven per cent of the proposed site.
“We want people to have lots of views and grassed areas,” he said.
A public briefing about the scheme – called Fforest Fawr – is due to take place from 3pm to 7pm on Thursday, July 28, at Waunarlwydd Rugby Club, Roseland Road.
One resident who has opposed previous housebuilding plans for the land in question said: “They will have a fight on their hands.”
Mr Kavanagh said environmental assessors have been studying the site’s flora and fauna for two years, and that protected species hadn’t been identified.
He said: “It is a beautiful piece of land.”
He said the company would be guided by the environmental experts about where the clusters of houses should be built and added that the project would open up the rest of the land.
A website about the Fforest Fawr project said there would be 250 houses in clusters in a parkland-style configuration.
Mr Kavanagh said the number had been revised down to about 208, and that the intention was for local people to be offered the properties before they were marketed for general sale.
The scheme would comprise starter, family and retirement homes, and rental and shared ownership properties managed by a housing association.
Mr Kavanagh said the owners of the land wanted a “legacy” project and did not wish to sell the site to a developer which crammed as many houses on it as possible.
It’s still very early days for Fforest Fawr.
“There’s not even a house or road design yet,” said Mr Kavanagh. “We want to ask people what they would like to see.”
He said one potential idea was a focal building, like a clock tower, or a sculpture.
A planning application for the scheme, which lies outside the defined settlement area, could be submitted to Swansea Council this autumn.
Waunarlwydd resident Chris Horgan said he was dismayed by the prospect of new homes on land he said he grew up exploring. He said the valley had rare flora and fauna, such as rare orchid, and that it did contain protected species.
Mr Horgan, of Swansea Road, said he understood there was an agreement dating back many years which stipulated that the land was protected until 2025.
“There’s also the immense impact on the community,” said the 38-year-old.
Local schools and the nearest doctor’s surgery, he said, were already full.
Local development plan
The Fforest Fawr site is not allocated for housing in Swansea’s local development plan (LDP). Land north of the railway line, between Waunarlwydd and Fforestfach and including the former Alcoa site, is allocated for significant redevelopment including just over 700 homes.
A resident of Westwinds Close, Waunarlwydd, said new homes should be built on the allocated LDP site, not on the Cockett Valley land beside her house.
“I know people have got to live somewhere,” she said.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she had fought two previous proposals for housebuilding on the land in the 1980s, and opposed the current project.
“I’m going to the meeting (on July 28) and will have my sixpence worth,” she said. “They will have a fight, but I won’t be doing the legwork this time.”
Short Bros Homes is close to completing 25 houses at a site in Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire, and has cleared a site in Pontlliw, Swansea, ahead of a 67-home project.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Waunarlwydd councillor Wendy Lewis about on the proposals, but she said she would rather not comment at this stage.
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