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Plans for retirement apartments on derelict farm approved

05 May 2024 3 minute read
What Darren Farm, where 50 retirement living apartments are proposed to be built, currently looks like. Photo Google Maps

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

A derelict farm will be turned into a new retirement living scheme and offices after being approved by councillors.

The scheme, at Darren Farm in Cowbridge, will provide hundreds of thousands of pounds less in financial contributions than the council originally asked for.

However, the developer said it will provide a number of social benefits to Cowbridge and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The independent living scheme, which will predominantly be aimed at older people who are single, will consist of 50 apartments.

It will also include a communal lounge, a guest suite and car parking. There will be 42 car parking spaces in total – 33 for the residential flats and nine for the offices.

The office building will be split into three offices over two floors.

Plans were approved by Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Thursday, April 25.


Speaking on behalf of the applicant and owner of Darren Farm, planning agent David Williams said the proposal offered to turn an “increasingly derelict site” into a sustainable development that will bring a number of social benefits.

He added: “It will provide great security… and community, reduce feelings of isolation and vulnerability.”

Mr Williams went on the say that it will also reduce demand on public sector resources and NHS services and free up housing for others.

He said: “Development of the site would release under occupied family housing…[and] free up housing for people on different stages of the housing ladder.”

Section 106

Local authorities usually ask developers for what is known as a section 106 contribution when approving a development.

This financial contribution normally goes towards things like providing affordable housing, creating new public spaces and improving infrastructure.

Vale of Glamorgan Council originally asked the owners of Darren Farm for more than £600,000 in financial contributions.

However, a financial viability assessment by Alder King property consultants argued that meeting these obligations would not be possible.

An artist\’s impression of what McCarthy Stone\’s retirement living apartments scheme proposed for Cowbridge could look like if it is approved. Image Inspire Design.

The council assessed the financial viability through an independent consultant via the Valuation Office Agency and decided £170,000 would be a fair contribution.

Vale of Glamorgan Council principal planner Stephen Butler said: “It has gone through due process in terms of viability… but fortunately there is some viability there.

“We will be getting the circa £170,000 to provide and assist in much needed affordable housing, likely in Cowbridge, but certainly in the wider Vale.”

Data from the council’s Homes4U waiting list shows that there are currently 150 people waiting for a one-bedroom home in Cowbridge.

The same data shows 72 households are waiting for a two-bed home and 37 are waiting for a three-bed home.

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