Posted: Thu 3rd Aug 2023

Plans for 300 houses on former hospital site, arts centre redevelopment, and 460-house development approved in Rhondda Cynon Taf /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Aug 3rd, 2023

Plans for almost 300 houses on a former hospital site, the redevelopment of a popular arts centre, and a 460-house development are among some of the major developments in Rhondda Cynon Taf that have been given the go-ahead so far this year.
In the first half of 2023, the council has signed off on some significant schemes and here is a breakdown of some of them….
300 houses on the old Aberdare General Hospital
An application for almost 300 houses on the site of the former Aberdare General Hospital were approved in February. The proposals were for for 299 homes on the site on Abernant Road in Abernant.
There were nearly 30 letters of objection and comments and concerns raised included planning policy issues, local housing market assessment and need issues, highways issues, infrastructure issues, trees and ecology concerns, amenity issues, health issues and design issues.
Planning officers said that, though the site was allocated for considerably more than the amount of houses currently proposed, the constraints the site faced in terms of ground conditions, ecology and highway requirements were substantial and justified fewer numbers of houses coming forward.
They said that impacts on the character and appearance of the area and on the privacy and amenity of the wider community were considered acceptable.
They added that the impact of the proposals on the ecology of the area and trees in particular could be managed through the development process,
Local councillors spoke against the plans raising concerns over highways issues and trees They said the impact on health in terms of the issues raised by objectors were adequately addressed.
On highways issues, they said the proposals had been subject to extensive independent interrogation and that highways development control had concluded that the details were acceptable in terms of their impact on the highway network.
But committee member Councillor Gareth Hughes said he was yet to see an application of such a size in such a sustainable location and that there would be an economic benefit for the town. He said, given its previous use as a hospital, that traffic movements would be similar.
460 houses at Cefn yr Hendy
In March, plans for 460 houses at Cefn yr Hendy in the south of RCT were signed off by councillors.
An application to deal with the appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the plan from Taylor Wimpey for land west of the A4119 at Cefn yr Hendy went before the council’s planning committee on Thursday, March 9.
The application, which includes a “local centre”, went before the planning committee in January with a recommendation that permission was granted. At that January meeting, councillors expressed concerns regarding the relationship of the development (specifically plots 1-4) to the rear of existing properties in Bryn Dewi Sant.
The committee decided to defer it for further consideration to give the applicant the opportunity to revise the scheme in order to address those concerns. A revised site layout was then submitted on February 7 which removed plots 1-4 as originally proposed, to the rear of Bryn Dewi Sant.
The total number of homes proposed will remain at 460 with four homes to be relocated. A further consultation was done with those existing neighbours who could be impacted by the changes and no objections were received in response.
The planning report said that it was considered that the revised proposals responded positively to the concerns that were raised by members and the local resident who spoke at the January meeting and the view of officers was that the proposed revisions represented an improvement over the original scheme presented. The January planning report said the principle of the proposed development had been established under the original grant of outline planning permission and its renewal.
There were 49 responses to the original consultation commenting and objecting to the proposals and following changes to the proposals, a further round of public consultation was done which saw 16 more objections. Their concerns related to planning policy issues, highways and transport issues, amenity issues such as the impact on current residents, health issues such as air quality and the loss of open space, design related issues, infrastructure issues and ecology issues.
Former care home to become accommodation for people with learning disabilities 
In April, the council’s planning committee approved council plans to turn the former Bronllwyn care home in Gelli in the Rhondda into accommodation for people with learning disabilities.
The application will see the demolition of the existing buildings at the site as well as landscaping, sustainable drainage, access, parking and associated works carried out. The development will be spread over three floors made up of 13 en suite bedrooms and one respite bedroom.
The former care home for the elderly was first built in 1972 and includes three separate linked blocks. The report added that tenants at the care home left on a phased basis before the submission of the application.
There was one letter of objection which raised concerns over the potential inconvenience to existing residents through disruption during construction. It said parking was already an issue and that the proximity to the primary school would result in traffic safety issues for children.
But planning officers recommended the scheme for approval, saying: “The site offers an opportunity for a tailored scheme to meet local needs and will aid in addressing the known care home shortfall in the county borough.
“The proposal would be developed on a brownfield site, within the defined settlement limits of Gelli and is considered acceptable in term of the requirements of planning policy and all relating material planning considerations.” They later added that “the development proposed would not have a significantly detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area, the residential amenity of those living closest to the site, highway safety or ecological value of the area.”
The Muni in Pontypridd
In June, the council’s planning committee voted to approve plans to redevelop the popular Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd.
Planning permission and listed building consent were given for the Grade II-listed municipal building in Gelliwastad Road with the plans including the conservation and repair of the building, including the refurbishment of the auditorium, remodelling of the entrance foyer, bar, and mezzanine, installation of new passenger lifts, toilets, dressing rooms, and Changing Places facilities as well as a bin store and associated improvements to back of house areas
The planning report said that the building had been operated as an important venue for arts and culture for a number of decades however, due to financial constraints and lack of investment, the building suffered decline and eventually closed its doors in 2018.
It added that the council recognised the importance of this building as a cultural facility to the community and visitors to the region and a new lease agreement with an experienced third sector venue operating company, Awen Cultural Trust, had been reached.
It said the council acknowledged that the building would need investment to give it a new lease of life and to reflect both the value and significance of Pontypridd’s arts and culture in the quality of the facilities provided.
The building was opened in 1895 and functioned as the town’s Wesleyan Chapel and an associated Sunday School for many decades.
It later became a Municipal Hall and was converted to an arts centre in the 1980s. The building was listed in 2001 for the architectural interest of its Gothic exterior and for its contribution to the impressive range of buildings in Gelliwastad Road including the adjacent Municipal Building and St Catherine’s Church, the report added. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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