Posted: Thu 6th Jul 2023

Loughor housing bid rejected on flooding and tree grounds /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jul 6th, 2023

Plans for detached houses in Loughor have been turned by Swansea councillors on flooding and tree grounds. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They were told by a council planning officer that it was “quite a nice scheme” but that technical information about potential flooding impacts – plus a lack of detail about trees – meant it had been recommended for refusal. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The officer said these were the sorts of issues which could be resolved given more time, but that an immediate refusal or approval decision had to be made by the planning committee to avoid it being determined instead by the Welsh Government. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The plans for the four detached houses on land off Castle Street were first submitted in 2015 but didn’t move forward until last year. The planning officer said the council was generally happy with the scheme’s layout, access and impact on ecology. He added: “It’s quite a nice scheme, really.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The concerns, he said, boiled down to a lack of or inadequate information about potential flooding impacts on properties nearby and about trees.
The officer said that according to the applicant’s engineers, flooding to third parties was unlikely. But he added that this hadn’t been demonstrated to the satisfaction of Welsh environment regulator Natural Resources Wales (NRW) or council drainage experts. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The applicant’s agent then addressed the committee, saying his client had provided three flood consequence assessments and that it was the council which had challenged the information provided, not NRW. The agent also claimed the council’s tree officer hadn’t seen the latest tree report. The planning officer, though, maintained that NRW’s concerns hadn’t been adequately addressed, and that the tree officer’s response was based on the most recent report. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Noting comments in the documents by the Coal Authority, Cllr Mary Jones said she was worried about building on land which could potentially be unstable. The planning officer said the Coal Authority had written about mining activity in the area but hadn’t objected to the application. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Mike Lewis asked why the application had come before the committee on the day that a decision had to be made, and was told the applicant had appealed to the Welsh Government on the grounds of non-determination by the council. The planning officer said deferring a decision would mean the council would lose jurisdiction of the application.
Ten councillors voted in favour of the planning department’s refusal recommendation, while two abstained. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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

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