Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Demolition of Tonyrefail warehouse approved to make way for flats

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

Plans to demolish a warehouse and build flats in its place in Tonyrefail have been given the green light despite public opposition. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

An application to knock down the WR Bishop and Co Fruit and Vegetable Wholesale warehouse in Penrhiwfer Road and build a block of 14 flats was approved by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s planning committee on Thursday, June 22. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It’s a revision and resubmission of a previous application which was refused and the plan is for a two-storey residential scheme of 14 apartments which will provide 100% affordable housing on behalf of the registered social landlord, Newydd Housing Association. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The key changes from the previous scheme include a reduction in the size of the new building and a reduction of two units, both of which have enabled it to be sited further away from the closest neighbouring house to the north-west. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The overall design of the elevations has also been “tidied-up”, the report said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They will be one and two-bed flats and the existing access from Penrhiwfer Road will be closed and fenced across, with a new access formed from Bryn Rhedyn, leading to a car park area containing 15 spaces, a bike and bin store and a sitting out area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A soft landscaping plan has been provided which indicates that the land to the north-east and north-west of the site would be grassed and enclosed by a hedge. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The plan also includes four sections of rain garden, as well as other planting to the front boundary. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There were 27 letters of objection received by the council as well as a previously submitted petition relating to the earlier refused scheme, which contained 936 signatures. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The concerns raised covered planning policy, land use, infrastructure, highways, design and appearance, residential amenity, community safety and procedural issues among other matters. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The objectors raised concerns that local healthcare and school facilities were oversubscribed, an improvement in infrastructure was needed before the council gave permission to future developments, the sewerage system was insufficient and that there was a lack of need for the development. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also said that the minor changes were not sufficient to address previous objections on access and safety grounds, there was insufficient parking space and that it was wrong to assume that there would be only one car per flat, the proposed entrance from Bryn Rhedyn was not safe, the entrance to the Co-op was very dangerous for pedestrians and vehicles and more cars would increase the chances of collisions, the danger to children playing in the street and that the traffic surveys were undertaken when Wales was under Covid restrictions and people were told to work from home and travel only when necessary. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They said the block of flats would be “unsightly” and not fit in, that it was too big, a mixture of dwellings would be more appropriate, the density was inappropriate and it would not assimilate with existing housing. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also raised concerns about overlooking and overshadowing of neighbouring properties as well as noise and disturbance, potential behavioural problems coming to the area, that not all home owners in close proximity to the site got the consultation letter and that existing poor water pressure would suffer further. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In recommending approval, planning officers said: “The proposed development would enable the re-use of a previously developed site, providing much-needed affordable housing in a sustainable location within the settlement boundary, close to shops and services. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The design, massing and scale of the new building would be acceptable in the context of the surrounding development and compared with the existing appearance of the site, would have a beneficial impact on the immediate street scene. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They added that “it is considered that the development would not be detrimental to neighbour amenity and no other concerns have been raised by statutory consultees, particularly with regard to access and highway safety. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Consequently, the proposed development is considered to be acceptable in respect of the LDP and national planning policy framework.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The Community Infrastructure Levy for this development is expected to be £25,389.12 but social housing relief may be claimed on the social housing element of the development and therefore no CIL would be payable. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A Section 106 agreement would be required to ensure that the dwellings are established and maintained as affordable units, for the continued purpose of meeting identified local housing needs, the report said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Danny Grehan said he thinks it’s too much of the same thing in one place and that it had just been tweaked a little bit. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “I’m still not happy that there are so many flats in one place.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He asked what happens if there’s a fire and there isn’t an exit for the residents and raised concerns about the entrance to the flats in relation to safety. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He also raised the issue around the doctor’s surgery being swamped by the number of houses coming to Tonyrefail and he also mentioned highways safety concerns and the location of the bin storage area. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Grehan called for a sensible letting policy on the development for at least the first year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Mike Powell suggested a site visit to consider the access to the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Gareth Hughes talked about the housing need that is there and said “it is difficult to deliver developments to meet these needs of one bedroom flats without developing some developments such as the one proposed today.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said the development is a betterment in terms of what’s currently there and that a residential use is a far better use in this location than the current warehouse use. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On parking, he said the data tells us that social housing has lower car ownership than non-social housing and said it’s in a sustainable location near shops and bus stops. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He agreed with the idea of considering a local letting policy but said he doesn’t believe it will have a detrimental impact on services adding that he thinks the developer has tried its best to amend the plans to minimise disruption. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “I’d also like to assure residents that I’ve certainly listened to their concerns. I’ve listened to the concerns of the local MP, the local MS and the local councillor. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The easiest thing in the world for me to do would be to sit here and agree with them all. That would be really very easy for me. However I can’t do that but because I respectfully disagree with them. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I think people need housing. I think this is an acceptable development.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Ross Williams said he understands how emotive it is but added that they desperately need housing and they are facing this issue daily as local members. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A motion to refuse the application failed and the application was approved. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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



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