Residents and Councillors Criticise Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Housing Plans in Barry
Residents and councillors have criticised Vale of Glamorgan Council for earmarking land in Barry for housing as part of its proposed blueprint for future development.
The council is currently in the early stages of drawing up its replacement local development plan (RLDP), which determines which sites in the county should be developed on for housing and employment.
As part of its draft preferred strategy for its RLDP, the council has proposed five sites across the Vale for development.
These include land in the north east of Barry, land to the north of Dinas Powys, land at Readers Way in Rhoose, land at Church Farm in St Athan and land to the west of St Athan.
At a Vale of Glamorgan Council environment and regeneration scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday, November 14, one resident living in the area proposed for 1,500 homes in Barry raised concerns about a potential “significant loss of green space”.
Alexandra Jenkins asked what plans were in place to help the area “cope with the additional thousands of cars commuting to the motorway or Cardiff when the current route passes three schools.”
An estimated 7,890 new homes are expected to be needed under the Vale’s “medium-growth” estimate during the period to 2036 and the council said that, with the 10% flexibility required in national planning policy, it needed to allocate enough space for 8,679 dwellings.
A total of 900 out of the 1,500 homes proposed for the Barry site, which encompasses Argae Lane and part of the Westra, is proposed to be delivered during the plan period.
Ms Jenkins added: “The effect on Argae Lane and the Westra cannot cope with the current levels of traffic and cannot be widened due to the residential properties backing on to the lane.”
Any future developer of the Barry site will be required to deliver a minimum of 30% of affordable housing on the site, green spaces, a school and a village centre with a mix of services.
It is about a 20 minute walk to Cadoxton train station from the south of the site and about a 15 minute cycle ride from the north of the site according to Transport for Wales data.
Ms Jenkins said: “The plan talks about a 20 minute walk to Cadoxton. This is misleading. I have walked it myself.”
Commenting on the potential journey from the north of the site to Cadoxton Station, she added: “My opinion is it would take probably 45 mins to 50 mins to walk there.”
Vale of Glamorgan Council ward member for Dinas Powys, Cllr Chris Franks, said he thought the north east Barry site was “basically car-focussed”, adding: “I am dismayed by the evidence that has been provided for these sites and I really do not see how committee can accept them.”
A member of the environment and regeneration scrutiny committee, Cllr Catherine Iannucci, said: “I think that lots of people in the consultation are going to tell you that… 20 minutes would be a very quick walk to Cadoxton train station and obviously [from] the north of the site then would be probably considerably longer.”
Fellow scrutiny committee member, Cllr Charles Champion, added that the proposal in its current form is “not brilliant for sustainable transport” and that “more leg work needs to be done” on it.
Head of sustainable development at Vale of Glamorgan Council, Ian Robinson, reminded members of the committee that the production of the RLDP was still in its early stages and that future work would be done to look at potential sites in more detail.
Mr Robinson said: “In an absolutely ideal world, a site for growth in Barry of this size would be on the edge of the town centre within a five minutes walk of everything.
“Barry is constrained.
“We have had candidate sites in over the course of this plan and previous plans, all around the perimeter of Barry and there are a number of physical and environmental constraints which mean that a lot of the land around Barry is not suitable for development.”
“This is not encumbered by a number of those constraints.”
Mr Robinson went on to add: “Barry is our most sustainable settlement and it will be very difficult to justify a strategy for the Vale of Glamorgan without a level of growth in Barry, and I would say a walking or cycling distance of the type we are talking about in Barry to a local retail centre, to a train station and obviously with the availability of services slightly further afield than in the town centre arguably is still more sustainable than a site which is closer to the centre of a much smaller settlement.”
A public consultation on the council’s preferred strategy for its RLDP will run for eight weeks from December to January.
Following this, the council will commence work on the deposit RLDP with a view to undertaking another six week consultation on this between February and March, 2025.
If all goes according to plan, the council expects to submit its RLDP to the Welsh Government in November, 2025, and the adoption of the plan could take place between August and September, 2026.
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