A PLAN for 253 new homes on land owned by the leader of Vale of Glamorgan Council has been approved.

Around 26 acres of land owned by Cllr John Thomas in the village of St Athan is set to be used as a site for new homes after Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Planning Committee approved the plans on Thursday night (June 7).

The development, off Cowbridge Road in the northern edge of St Athan, was passed following concerns over increased traffic, loss of green space and lack of public transport serving the area.

Developer Edenstone Homes has pledged to make 17 per cent of the homes - a total of 43 units - available as affordable housing and has agreed to pay almost £2million towards nearby educational facilities.

Vale of Glamorgan Council said the site was allocated for housing in a Local Development Plan agreed by the previous Labour administration, and Cllr Thomas has always declared an interest when the plan was being discussed.

A council spokesman said: “The planning application is for an approved housing site within the council’s Local Development Plan, which was drafted and progressed by the previous administration and approved by an independent planning inspector appointed by the Welsh Government following a formal inquiry.

“In line with the council’s constitution, Cllr Thomas has always declared an interest when the LDP has been discussed and debated at council meetings.

“As leader of the council, Cllr Thomas has no input into the decisions of the planning committee.”

St Athan Community Council told the committee it had “strong objections” to the plans, expressing concerns including increased traffic, loss of open space, that the development is out of character for the area.

But Geraint John, agent for the application, told the meeting there has been detailed discussions with the council over the design of the roads in the development, which will “act as a traffic calming measure on approach into the village, slowing traffic” and there are also plans for a pedestrian and cycle way in front of the site.

He said assessments have shown there would be “no visual harm from sensitive public vantage points”.

Mr John said: “The proposed development will if approved deliver a high quality development which is acceptable in all technical respects.”