WALES ON-LINE ENZO PLANS APPROVAL ARTICLE
Neath Port Talbot (NPT) Council has approved the construction of 80 new homes in Neath following a debate over flooding, road safety and land contamination.
The council's planning committee granted Enzo Homes permission to build the homes on a site that lies south east of Heol Y Glyn (A4109), Glynneath, during a meeting held on Tuesday September 08.
Councillor Suzanne Paddison said: "Glynneath is in need of some new housing stock. The development site lies between Heol y Glyn (A4109) and neighbouring properties. "Our pollution officers, our drainage officers, our planning officers are going to be eagle-eyed over what happens next and they will make sure that the residents of Neath Port Talbot get a very good new estate."
The new homes will be a mix of two, three and four bedroom properties comprising of terraced, semi-detached and detached properties. Many of the homes will have rear gardens and all of them will have a patio area.
In 2003, Neath-based demolition contractor Cuddy Group was given planning permission to build homes on the site, which was allocated for residential development under the council's the Local Development Plan three decades ago.
But the company fell into administration in July 2018 and so the land was then purchased by Enzo Homes.
The development was subject to consultations in March, June and July this year with locals voicing various concerns.
Glynneath Town Council raised concerns over residents' claims that there had been illegal tipping of chemical waste on the site and that it had been used as a domestic and industrial landfill site since the 1940s. The town council also requested an investigation of the land for contamination down to its natural ground level.
Member of the Sennedd for Neath Jeremy Miles emailed the council on behalf of a local resident who questioned whether Enzo Homes could be trusted by the community to build the development given the company was fined for illegal tree felling in 2019.
The council's planning report said "much of NPT is covered by contamination, whether large or small" and it is the planning authority's reponsibility to address this to ensure sites are safe for development.
The council's contaminated land officers visited the site and concluded they did not object to development. However, they recommended further investigations into the land before development occurs and so "significant levels of site re-profiling" will take place before building construction.
The report said "no further development would be allowed on site until satisfactory information has been submitted" regarding land contamination.
Glynneath representative Cllr Del Morgan, Seven Sisters representative Steve Hunt and Glynneath Town Mayor Simon Knoyle all raised concerns of possible flood risks caused by the development.
"I would look forward to a professional and coordinated approach to the development of housing on this site," Cllr Morgan said.
Cllr Hunt said: "We all know that flooding has become one of our top priorities across Neath and Port Talbot and we do not want to add another site to something that may be out of our control with the weather."
According to the council's planning report, there have been issues with flooding in the south eastern corner of the application site and nearby land due to the existing land and highway drainage in the area.
It said Enzo Homes cannot be required to assist with the pre-existing drainage problems in the nearby areas but the development "would not result in a worsening of the current situation" and an "acceptable drainage scheme" will be installed on the site.
Councillor Morgan also requested that before any development begins on the site, Enzo Homes removes waste material allegedly dumped on there by Cuddy Group, certain drainage measures are installed and as many mature trees as possible on the site are kept intact.
Cllr Knoyle said the development is "one of the most complex issues" he has dealt with in his career as a councillor from 2017.
The independent councillor said he supported Cllr Morgan's requests and questioned the impact of the development on the land surrounding land of the site and the community of Glynneath more broadly.
However, he said he would welcome the extra homes as long as the developer meets all required conditions of the plans agreed by the council.
He asked if additional ground surveys could be done prior to the building works commencing so the council "can understand what is exactly on the site".
"I think that would go a long way to pleasing most of the residents," he said.
Cllr Knoyle also questioned the visual impact of the development on exisiting homes nearby and asked if the trees that are due to be removed in the northern and south western corners of the site can be reviewed.
The planning report said Enzo Homes has "indicated" they would need to remove of the material previously left on the site by Cuddy Group to meet the proposed ground levels. It added: "The developers are required to build the development in accordance with all approved plans, which would mean that any material in excess of this would have to be removed from the site."
Certain conditions will be added to the planning application to ensure highway measures are installed as part of the development, including a ghost island.
The planning permission granted to Cuddy Group in 2003 allows the removal of trees on the site. On the northern section of the site's boundary with Heol y Glyn, there is a group of trees that will be removed as part of the development and then replaced via landscaping. 11 individual trees, one "group" of trees and three areas of woodland will be removed.
The report also said the development will be visible from nearby residential areas but it "would have no detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the surrounding area".
The Local Democracy Reporting Service contacted Enzo Homes who did not wish to comment.
This article was shared on Facebook and I posted the following on FB.
I find it interesting that an article of that length and duration would not refer to my allegations that the Neath-Port Talbot Council have breached the 1990 Environmental Protection Act in 2010 thereby placing the lives of Glynneath residents at risk. I also said that the council planning committee are rubber stamping council planning department malpractice and negligence and provided the committee with evidence of this. I suppose however that that is no longer news, its standard council practice. It would seem the Neath-Port Talbot council are now able to cover up corruption on all fronts, including the media. The council's media officer is a former Wales on-line employee so that's probably not a surprise. 20 years ago the Evening Post would have jumped down my throat for an interview after saying the things I did in the planning meeting. Its good that we still have things like private websites and youtube to publish the truth on. If you look for a recording of the meeting on you-tube to see what I said you'll find its not there, yet the council meeting the day after is. Someone should ask councillors Morgan and Knoyle to chase that up in the interest of openness of the council. They wouldn't do that of course because it shows how the pair of them sold out the residents of Glynneath.
I asked the author the following question on FB by private message
Hannah Neary - Further to the above post - I've PMd the author and asked the following question.
Hi - I'd be interested to learn how much of your report is press release (if any) and how much is your own work. Also if you listened or watched on-line the complete meeting?
Could you share this information on your post please.
She didn't share it on the post, so I did.
Hi Dai, yes I attended the meeting virtually. I wrote the piece on 10 Sep - Wales Online published it yesterday. None of this information comes from a press release - I don't believe the council launched a press release on this decision so I'm not sure what you're referring to there. The council issued a reports pack before the meeting containing details of residents' concerns and representations made by councillors - my piece contains a mixture of information from this report and the live meeting. As far as I recall, you raised issues concerning illegal tipping on the site, flooding and conservation - those concerns have clearly been highlighted in my piece. I report every individual's comments - it is my job to give an impartial account of the meeting and the decision-making process. It is not always possible for a story as detailed as this to quote every individual who makes a representation, I can't report every individual's comments
During the meeting I told the committee that they had rubber stamped planning department malpractice and negligence and they breached the 1990 Environmental Act. Is this not news then because although they did that in 2010 it was discovered until 2020. This information can be found here.
Thanks for this, I'll look into it and see if the council has a response to these allegations.
Hi again - whilst I wouldn't want to teach you to suck eggs, if you a real reporter you would understand the case first and ask the council relevant questions such as why the planning department website has been broken for the last six months, the real answer to that question is because they don't want the public to see the information that should be displayed on it. That information provides evidence that the planning department are negligent, if you ask the council for a response all you'll get bullshit, if you a real reporter you'll talk to someone other than the council. The response "Thanks for this, I'll look into it and see if the council has a response to these allegations." would suggest to me that you were sucked into the council bullying of me and into believing that I'm someone not worthy of an opinion. I challenge you to understand what's going on here and be a real reporter. The first question you should ask is when the planning committee meeting is being uploaded to Youtube because it should have been uploaded last week.
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