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Last ditch attempt to stop building of over 500 homes on coastal path

20 Mar 2024 4 minute read
The Upper Cosmeston Farm site

Martin Shipton

Residents and environmentalists are making a final appeal to stop more than 500 homes being built on the Wales Heritage Coast path in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Members of the council’s planning committee will decide on Thursday March 21 whether the development of 576 houses should go ahead between Penarth and Sully.

Opponents of the project say the land, which is owned by the Welsh Government, was put up for sale on the assumption planning permission was granted, even though the end date of the sale auction was before the planning committee initially considered the proposal.

A petition signed by more than 5,000 people objecting to the development was submitted to the Welsh Government, but it was disregarded on the basis that it was a local planning issue.

Objectors say the housing development is in contravention of the Welsh Government’s own environmental laws and in contravention of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act. They also point out that the project would go ahead on land allocated to the South Wales Metro.

Land contamination

In addition they say that the issue of land contamination has not been addressed in the planning application.

Max Wallis of Vale Friends of the Earth said: “There is no way of calling in the council planning application as it’s on Welsh Government land and there could therefore be no independent review available.

“”Our belief is that the council wants Section 106 community benefit funding from the developer to build a new school that is a pet project of the council leader.

“But this is part of the Wales Coastal Heritage jewel in the crown, along undeveloped coast with an old hedgerow.

“The outline masterplan would remove the hedgerow and divert the path into public open space, to give unencumbered views – from newly built houses – over the Severn Estuary.

“In trying to sell Welsh Government land, a key planning principle in Planning Policy Wales is being ignored, which states: “Development should not normally be proposed in coastal locations unless it needs to be on the coast.. In particular, undeveloped coastal areas will rarely be the most appropriate location for development.”

Conflict of interest

Mr Wallis said there was a clear conflict of interest involved: “The Climate Change Minister – Julie James – should surely withdraw the planning application. Then she can properly consult the Welsh Ministers on whether to safeguard Wales’ jewel-in-the-crown from encroachment.

“She could also make an unencumbered decision on whether the international designations of this part of the coast – as a RAMSAR wetlands site of international importance under the RAMSAR Convention, and bordering the Marine Protection Area – should carry weight in protecting our undeveloped coast.

“Otherwise the Minister is in effect giving the green light to Welsh councils to ignore planning principles relating to our treasured coast.”

When the proposal was considered at a planning committee meeting in February, local councillor Kevin Mahoney was concerned about local services being stretched by the influx of new homeowners to the area. He said: “There are no doctors and no secondary school spaces. These services are gone.

“The active travel plan proposes that everyone will walk and cycle to work, but the infrastructure will grind to a halt.

“And how can you trust any of these reports? There is nothing independent about a developer paying someone to put in a report for them.”

Wetlands

A representative of the designers of the development, Cardiff based Asbri Planning’s Barrie Davies, told the meeting: “There are 25 hectares earmarked for development, but in fact less than 16 hectares will be built on with nine hectares for new and renewed habitats including wetlands, orchards, open spaces and 6,000 square metres of new hedgerows.”

He emphasised the 50% target for building affordable houses on the development highlighting the Penarth, Sully and Lavernock area as having the highest need for affordable houses in the Vale.

Mr Davies confirmed that £7.8m was earmarked towards a new school on the site.There would also be sustainable public transport, coastline monitoring and public art.

The February meeting came to an end before the discussion was completed because of an IT hitch.


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TomTom82
TomTom82
20 days ago

So, the government is trying to line It’s own pockets? Nothing new there. It’s worth considering that this sale will generate over 500 homes.
These homes are sorely needed. The fact 5,000 people objected to it reeks of ignorance and jealousy.

Iago
Iago
20 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

If we had it your way Wales would be nothing but roads and poor quality new build estates.

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
19 days ago

No doubt these will be snapped up by landlords and holiday home owners to be rented back at extortionate prices. We need more social housing, the waiting list in Cardiff is between 7 and 11 years, thats a disgrace

Chris Haynes
Chris Haynes
19 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

True

Rob jones
Rob jones
19 days ago

I assume it will be luxury homes as usual not affordable homes for those on basic wages

Bernard McCormack
Bernard McCormack
19 days ago

There is too much of the natural environment being destroyed for development. This is a classical example of planners ignoring the environmental value of this area and the benefits it provides to peoples feel good factor.
We are very aware now of how important these kind of areas are for our health now.
and must be preserved.

M evans
M evans
17 days ago

Just another load off getting rich property developers grabbing land and building houses beyond the pockets off local people if they developed houses half should be sold to local people at half there market. Value bet they would not be so keen then.

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