Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

Councillors to visit Pembrokeshire village site before deciding on housing plans

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

County planners are to visit the site of a proposed new dwelling on land once owned by the council, despite a recommendation it should be refused. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The application for a two-storey house, together with associated works including alterations to access and the repositioning of and erection of a boundary wall, at land adjacent to 18 Summerhill, Stepaside, was recommended for refusal at the June 27 meeting of the council’s planning committee. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Local community council Amroth has objected to the proposed scale of applicant William Brooks’ development and the impact on the character and appearance of the area and amenity. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Nine letters of objection have also been received. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report for planners added: “The site and 18 Summerhill were formerly owned by the council and subsequently sold.  It is the intention of the applicant to purchase from the council a portion of the garden of [number] 17, which remains in council ownership, in order to improve the access from the turning head [in order to overcome the reasons for a previous refusal]. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The Council Property Division has, however, confirmed that it would resist such a sale.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The application was recommended for refusal for a string of reasons, including an adverse impact on neighbouring properties, and a failure to meet affordable housing criteria. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Speaking at the meeting, applicant William Brooks said an affordable housing contribution of nearly £26,000 was now being offered, and the application would reinstate a “turning head” in the area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He told members he had previously received positive discussions about buying the parcel of land from chief executive Will Bramble, but had later been met with “a wall of silence” from officers. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Speaking on behalf of objectors, local resident Kelvin Thomas said the application would exacerbate an already difficult parking situation, saying it was “only a matter of time before there’s a serious incident”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Brian Hall, who had initially favoured following the recommendation of refusal, instead moved a site visit. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We’re short of money, we don’t need this land; why don’t we sell it in principle?” he asked. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

However, fellow councillors Alistair Cameron and Michael Williams both expressed their concerns at the application. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Williams raised the issue of previously-refused applications at the site, hearing the potential land purchase would lead to a larger building than previously refused. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Hall responded: “By us going out there doesn’t mean we’re giving it consent, I just think it would be a travesty to refuse it without seeing it; at least we will see the site first-hand.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Members supported a site visit prior to a final decision by eight votes to three. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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