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Residents get backing for legal action over temporary accommodation units

30 Apr 2024 3 minute read
A view of the temporary accommodation units at the former Eagleswell Primary School site from Ann Knight’s home. Photo Ann Knight.

Ted Peskett, local democracy reporter

Residents fighting against the installation of “overbearing” portable homes to be used as temporary accommodation units, have raised enough funds to take legal action.

Vale of Glamorgan Council pushed through plans for temporary accommodation in Llantwit Major last year through what is known as permitted development rights.

Residents living next to the site, formerly occupied by Eagleswell Primary School, complained about the portable homes which they claim breach planning regulations.

Developments approved under permitted development rights can go ahead without planning permission, but these rights last for a fixed period of time.

Once this period of time is up, 12 months in this case, a retrospective planning application must be approved for the development to continue.

Retrospective planning application

Vale of Glamorgan Council hopes to present a retrospective planning application for the portable homes to its planning committee in May.

A Crowd Justice page set up by Llantwit Major resident Stephen McGranaghan, who said he has lived next to the Eagleswell site for 32 years, states that campaigners have engaged the services of a barrister and building planning consultant

The page, which shows that £7,372 has been raised to cover their fees – £172 over the original target – states “In raising this money we hope to stop the abuse of power of the Vale of Glamorgan councils building department who are contravening all of their own building regulations.

“These funds will enable our voices to be heard.”

Plans for the 90 temporary accommodation units, approved in January 2023, are intended to house Ukrainian refugees fleeing war in their country.

One resident who lives nearby said portable units were about 16m from his property and 8m from a neighbour’s.

Another resident said they felt the development had been “foisted” on residents.

Health centre

Vale of Glamorgan Council owns the land that Eagleswell Primary School used to stand on. The future use of the land has been hotly debated since the school closed in 2015, with many residents calling for it to be used for a new health centre.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “This site has long been earmarked for residential development, a fact referenced in the council’s local development plan.

“Permitted Development Rights, which allow for construction without planning permission, are in place for one year from the start of work, which was in June 2023.

“A planning application for this site is also being considered by the council and officers will take into account representations received by neighbours as part of that process.”

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