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Caerphilly councillors vote to block 618-home scheme

Words: Roger Milne

Members of Caerphilly County Borough Council’s planning committee have voted against proposals for a development of up to 618 new homes, 40 per cent of which would be affordable. Their unanimous stance went against the advice of officials.

Developers PMG Ltd and Persimmon Homes are expected to appeal once the committee has met again to formalise refusal and the reasons for rejection.

The greenfield site earmarked for the scheme, at Gwern y Domen, is mainly pastureland on the edge of the town, south-west of Lansbury Park and Mornington Meadows.

The project is highly controversial and has sparked thousands of objections. Only last weekend there was a well-attended demonstration by horse riders and cyclists who use the area’s bridleways and footpaths.

Campaigners against the scheme are worried about the loss of green space, traffic issues and the impact on a nearby area of special landscape.

In their report to the committee, officers said the proposals were in line with national policy and the site met council criteria for development.

Noted the officials: “In the absence of any firm timescale for progressing a local development plan review, or a strategic development plan, the development by a major housebuilder would ensure that a significant contribution to meeting the five-year housing land supply shortfall which currently exists, would be provided, and that a large proportion of affordable units would also be delivered.

“It can therefore be concluded that a significant need exists for the development on the above basis.”

As well as the housing, the developers’ outline application included plans for a sports pavilion, open space as well as formal and informal play areas linked by pedestrian and cycle routes. Significant aboricultural and ecological mitigation measures were also promised.

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