Vale residents and planners set for Goliath housing battle

First published in News

A HOUSEBUILDER has refuted claims it had not wanted to enter into any planning agreements with the Vale Council over its Weycock Cross development proposals.

Vale Council planning committee members, on Thursday (January 16) discussed the Taylor Wimpey planning application in which the developer had proposed up to 200 dwellings and associated works on land south of Port Road West, Barry.

Officers recommended the proposal be rejected, but Taylor Wimpey lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspector for Wales, prior to the report being put before councillors, on the basis of non-determination.

Committee members voted to refuse the application with the view of using the decision at any forthcoming appeal.

Members heard that the developer had refused to commit to paying any Section 106 agreement – an arrangement in which a successful applicant contributes to infrastructure and community benefits such as schools, community centres and roads..

Planning committee member, Cllr Nic Hodges said: “They have no regard to public art which makes me think what philistines wanted to build in our town.

“We should defend and fight this with every fibre in our bodies.”

Friends of Weycock Cross campaigners Frank and Debbie Cleland said Taylor Wimpey had chosen not to respect the views of the residents or planners.

Frank said: “They are going against the UDP and Deposit LDP which do not include this site for development. At a time when rate payers are struggling to pay their bills Taylor Wimpey have chosen to go to appeal which could cost the community dearly. Taylor Wimpey decided to go to appeal on the Monday because the application had not been determined within the statutory eight weeks; that is three days before the planning committee meeting. The planning committee voted on the Green Farm planning application as if they still had the power to decide had Taylor Wimpey not gone direct to appeal. Their vote was to refuse. This result will when combined with the planning officials report (to reject), back up the council’s case when viewed by the planning inspector.”

Managing director for Taylor Wimpey South Wales, Shaun White said discussions about proposals for residential development at Weycock Cross were ongoing with the local authority over the course of the application, but unfortunately an agreement was unable to be reached.

He said: “We were willing to make contributions to the local community under a Section 106 agreement, but we were unable to agree upon the terms of the agreement.

“Our appeal to the Planning Inspectorate was lodged before publication of the planning committee’s agenda. Should this appeal be upheld, we will provide appropriate contributions to the local authority for the benefit of local people in Barry.

“As a responsible housebuilder, we provide financial and infrastructure contributions to local communities as part of every new housing development we deliver. Last year, Taylor Wimpey contributed over £175 million under section 106 and section 75 planning agreements, which has funded infrastructure including schools, public transport, health services and public open space. Recent developments in Barry and the surrounding Vale have already made significant contributions to the local area.”

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