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Plans approved for ‘rabbit hutch’ flats

29 Jan 2024 3 minute read
Crossway Methodist Church. Photo via Google

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

Plans for flats that were criticised for their size, with one councillor likening them to “rabbit hutches”, have been approved.

Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee met on Thursday, January 25 to approve plans to turn the former Crossway Methodist Church on Court Road, Barry, into 15 affordable flats.

Newydd Housing Association, who will deliver the scheme, and Vale Council cabinet members present at the meeting argued that there is an acute need for housing in the area and that this will help meet it.

However, Cllr Ian Johnson drew his fellow committee members’ attention to a point in the council’s report which states that floor space in eight of the proposed flats does not meet Welsh Development Quality Standards.

“We should not really accept applications that fall below that standard for space,” he added.

Lack amenities

Other councillors noted that there are a lack amenities as part of the development for future tenants.

One committee member, Cllr Anthony Ernest, pointed out that there will be nowhere on site for people to enjoy the outdoors, adding: “[As] for space to get out and get fresh air, it doesn’t exist.”

Cllr Ian Perry said: “It is not a good development. I would never put my name to this.

“It is just not something I would want anyone living in.”

Welsh Development Quality Standards sets out that there should be a gross internal floor area of 50sqm for a one bedroom flat with common access.

All 15 flats at the former Methodist church will be one bedroom flats. Seven meet the 50sqm requirement or exceed it.

Five flats exceed 49sqm, two measure about 48.1sqm and another measures about 47.4sqm.

‘Huge issues’

Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet member for neighbourhood and building services said: “We are not very far away from Central Park here… and really you are not far away from a main shopping area as well.

“We have got huge issues with a lack of housing.

“I get daily emails from residents… looking for accommodation.”

On the council’s report, it states that there is a need for 107 one-bedroom units in Buttrills, Barry.

However, council officer Rob Lankshear updated members at Thursday’s meeting to tell them that the latest figure in terms of housing need was in fact 403 units in the ward.

The council’s cabinet member for public sector housing and tenant engagement, Cllr Sandra Perkes, said: “These houses will have to be Welsh Housing Quality Standard and that would go for space as well in these properties.

“The space in that flat has to reach an actual standard.”

She went on to add: “These flats have all of the local amenities… all the other facilities that there are available there as well.”

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