Posted: Tue 27th Feb 2024

Decisions on Major Vale of Glamorgan Plans Put on Hold After Council Meeting Glitch /

Decisions on major plans that could change the face of the Vale of Glamorgan have been put on hold after a council meeting experienced a technical glitch.
Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee was halfway through a discussion on plans to build more than 500 homes on land at Upper Cosmeston Farm on Thursday, February 22 when it was brought to a halt.
A member of the planning committee, Cllr Mark Wilson, suggested that the group reconvene as there were “a lot of technical issues” with some people being unable to attend the hybrid meeting via video link.
Another matter that members were due to discuss and make a decision on were the plans to regularise Barry Biomass Plant, which has been the centre of a long-running row between the company behind the plant and the council.
Plaid Cymru councillor, Cllr Nic Hodges, suggested that committee members attend future meetings in person, noting “there are three of us in this chamber that are voting members of this committee”.
Cllr Ian Perry said: “Already members have not heard everything so they can’t vote, so halfway through the consideration of a planning application isn’t really a good time to say that we will [reconvene].”
Committee chair, Cllr Neil Thomas said: “We in the chamber aren’t having problems particularly, but we are having problems with people working from home and I think we need to adjourn and reconvene as soon as possible.”
He went on to apologise to people at the meeting and members of the public who were listening in, adding:  “We will let you know… when the reconvened meeting will take place.”
The council stopped using the platform Civico for multi-location meetings in November 2022, after revealing that it was experiencing technical difficulties with it.
Hybrid meetings, with councillors able to attend at the council chamber or from home, started taking place again later in 2023.
A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “The chair of [Thursday’s] planning committee took the decision to adjourn the meeting because technical issues meant some members were unable to take part.
“This was absolutely the correct action as, when discussing important planning matters, it is vital that everyone who sits on the committee can fully participate.
“Arrangements will be made for another meeting when items that could not be discussed on Thursday will be considered.”
The controversy of plans for 567 homes on land at Upper Cosmeston Farm was highlighted again at the beginning of the planning committee meeting.
One public speaker, Max Wallis, and local councillor, Cllr Kevin Mahoney, raised concerns about the potential impact of the development on the area, including loss of green space, the affect on the Wales Coastal Path, the risk of flooding and congestion in the area.
Noting that Wales’ largest special needs school already has plans to construct an additional building at Cosmeston, Cllr Mahoney said he feared new homes will cause traffic on the road to “grind to a halt”.
A Conservative councillor for the Plymouth ward in Penarth, Cllr Rhys Thomas, raised concerns about an existing lack of services in the area and said access to health services could become more difficult.
He added: “The people of the area should be put first.”
A council report on the application states the number of households on the council housing waiting list in Sully for a two-bed property is 46 and in Penarth it is 232. For one-bedroom properties in both areas respectively, it is 58 and 437.
If eventually approved, the development will also include a primary school, a public open space and other community facilities.
Two retrospective planning applications relating to Barry Biomass Plant was not discussed at all.
Vale of Glamorgan Council served an enforcement notice on Barry Biomass UK No.2 Ltd in 2021 after it found a number of discrepancies with the approved plans for the plant.
Barry Biomass appealed the notice to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW), claiming it was inaccurate and PEDW last month ordered the council to pay costs to the company behind the biomass burning plant.
Vale of Glamorgan Council said it was disappointed with PEDW’s decision, but it cannot appeal it. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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