Developers put forward plans again for business park on family farm near Cardiff
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Developers have put forward plans again to build a business park on a family farm near Cardiff Airport.
Legal and General, a financial services company, has applied for planning permission from Vale of Glamorgan council for a 45-acre industrial estate off Port Road.
It would be built on Model Farm, currently used for rearing cattle and growing wildflowers for seeds, lived and worked on by the Jenkins family for four generations since 1935.
In July last year the company received permission from the council for the business park, but that decision was then quashed in September due to a lack of public financial information.
Now L&G has included this financial information, called a viability report, in their new application and are once again asking the council for planning permission — attracting fresh criticism for the plan to “concrete over Model Farm” and concerns about the climate impact.
As part of the application, the council is consulting the public on its views on the plans. Responses can be submitted on the council’s website until February 17, and the planning application has the reference 2019/00871/OUT.
Andrew RT Davies, MS for South Wales Central and leader of the Welsh Conservatives, said: “Concreting over Model Farm would be a betrayal of our community. This new consultation is an opportunity to make that clear once again.
“The council has declared both climate and nature emergencies. This unnecessary development would completely undermine that.”
‘Missing viability report’
The reason the application was quashed was due to the missing viability report. These are routinely prepared by developers when asking to reduce Section 106 costs, which must sometimes be paid to councils for upgrading local infrastructure. Previously these reports were not often published, but recent case law suggests they now must be publicly available.
After the Vale’s planning committee approved permission, campaigners and politicians criticised the decision due to the potential impact of the business park on climate change, with increased carbon dioxide emissions likely, harming local biodiversity, and adding to congestion issues on nearby roads. The Jenkins family also said they were “devastated”.
The Vale Communities Unite protest group campaigned against the decision, holding a rally outside the Senedd, raising thousands of pounds, and successfully securing a judicial review into the planning approval.
The outcome of that review meant the decision had to be quashed, due to the missing viability report, throwing the future of Model Farm into question.
Now L&G has resubmitted its plans to build a business park on the farm, including in its application the viability report, which looks at how much the land is worth, how much the development will cost to build, and how much rent future tenants of the business park will pay. The development is expected to serve the aviation industry and nearby airport.
The viability report reveals the land cost £8.8 million to purchase, and L&G expects to make a loss of £6,157,000 on total costs of £72,872,000.
The Vale council’s planning committee will soon reconsider the application, and vote whether to again grant permission, but it’s unclear when exactly this will be. It’s understood that the Welsh Government could call-in the decision and have the final say.
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Only if it’s run by welsh people and not incomers so all the money stays in wales 🏴
Ask yourself how such a tiny farm cost L&G £8.8M to buy and just who L&G is going to ask for compensation if Andrew RT gets the council to redesignate the land as agricultural. The farm is 45 hectares, not acres, but L&G also own 49 hectares which they will give to create a Green Corridor and add to Porthkerry Park.
L&G bought it all 20 years ago and the tenants knew long before that they were temporary residents. I bet RT wouldn’t say boo to the Welsh estate owners who turf tenant farmer families out to create pheasant shoots.