New dwelling application for land once owned by council narrowly rejected, sparking controversy and concerns over parking and access arrangements.
An application for a new dwelling on land once owned by Pembrokeshire County Council failed to gain approval by just one vote.
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, had been recommended for refusal at the June meeting of the council’s planning committee, members undertaking a site visit instead.
The application returned to the July 25 committee meeting, again recommended for refusal for a string of reasons, including an adverse impact on neighbouring properties, and a failure to meet affordable housing criteria.
A report for planners said: “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.”
Local community council Amroth has objected to the proposed scale of applicant William Brooks’ development, and nine letters of objection were also received, along with two of support, the latter saying the plans will improve access arrangements for number 18 and ease parking arrangements within the cul-de-sac.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Brooks said he couldn’t understand the adverse impact condition for refusal, adding: “If you reject this application you will leave the neighbourhood, and turning area, worse off.”
He conceded he wouldn’t be able to proceed if the land wasn’t sold to him.
He has previously told members he had received positive discussions about buying the parcel of land from chief executive Will Bramble, but was later been met with “a wall of silence” from officers.
Speaking on behalf of objectors, local resident Kelvin Thomas has previously said the application would exacerbate an already difficult parking situation, saying it was “only a matter of time before there’s a serious incident”.
He told committee members a Freedom of Information request had been lodged with the county council “to find the facts” about whether any agreement with the chief executive on the sale of land had been made.
Mr Thomas also raised fears the application could become a holiday home, sold on the open market.
Councillor Mark Carter said he was broadly supportive of the applicant, asking if an owner-occupier clause could be inserted as a compromise.
Councillor Brian Hall, who had proposed a site visit at the previous meeting, moved the application be refused.
Members voted to refuse the application by seven votes to six, with one abstention.
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