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In this video, we see how the Neath Port-Talbot Council Planning Development Manager Steve Ball has grossly misrepresented the role of Natural Resources Wales in the planning process for the Heol y Glyn development. This is evidence he is presenting as factual to the Planning Committee. We believe that the reason he does this is to cover up Planning Department malpractice which allowed the Cuddy Group to tip on the site unregulated and to provide the Planning Committee with a sense of lawfulness for the development and in particular the illegal tipping habits of the Cuddy Group. The Cuddy Group were tipping at the Heol y Glyn site from 2005 to 2016  while Natural Resources Wales was founded in 2013 and the Cuddy Group's first NRW licence dates from August 2014 by which time the majority of tipped material had been brought onto the site.   


  06-nrw-logo.jpg (55988 bytes) 07-area-streets.jpg (441871 bytes) 09-ball-grj-image-flat2.jpg (209620 bytes) During the Planning Committee meeting of 8 September 2020 the Planning Development Manager Steve Ball misrepresents the role of Natural Resources Wales at the Heol y Glyn development. We believe that the reason he does this is to provide the Planning Committee with a sense of lawfulness for the development and in particular the illegal tipping habits of the Cuddy Group. 

In effect he is attempting to cover up Neath Port Talbot Council planning department malpractice which allowed the Cuddy Group to tip contaminated waste unlicensed for the majority of, if not all of the 13 years they tipped at the site.

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The Cuddy Group's first approved plans were in 2005. If we look at condition 26 of the planning permission we will see that the importation of material was only allowed for 12 months after the commencement. However, the Cuddy Group tipped for the majority of the 13 years at the site after this permission, 12 of which based upon condition 26 were illegal and the Neath Port Talbot Council have refused to provide evidence that the Cuddy Group submitted a commencement notice which would suggest that during the complete ownership of the site by the Cuddy Group, they tipped illegally from 2005-2017. 

2005-Decision and Conditions document - CLICK HERE 

2010-Decision and Conditions document (condition 27) - CLICK HERE

This being the case, Neath Port Talbot Council are guilty of malpractice for allowing this to happen. 

  09-ball-grj-image-flat2.jpg (209620 bytes) Let's return to the 2020 meeting look to see how Steve Ball misrepresented the role of Natural Resources Wales at the Neath Port Talbot Council Planning Committee meeting.
04-bap.jpg (339623 bytes)   at 1.21.35 he said that the Cuddy Group brought on a significant amount of material which was at that time necessary to facilitate the development to create the land form necessary for that approval. It had a Natural Resources Wales licence, a permit to bring the land on. 20 seconds later he states that the land needs to be brought off the site which may seem unusual but is clearly to the benefit of the development.
05-zinc.jpg (333253 bytes)   This information ties in with the local residents view, photographic evidence and historical evidence that the Cuddy Group never intended to build houses on the site. The planning permission was a front for their demolition and asbestos waste business. The Cuddy Group housing brand 'Primrose Homes' failed to build a single house during the entirity of their existence. The Cuddy Group were at one point during their ownership of the site, identified as the 12th largest demolition company in the world. If we look at the activities of the specialist house builder Enzo, we will see that the first thing they did was remove the tipped material from the site. They even broke the planning conditions to do this which would suggest that the removal of the earth was a priority action. 
    During the Planning Committee meeting a representative of the residents informed the Committee of this Cuddy Group practice. He stated that the cost of planning was a loss leader for Cuddy who made far more money from tipping on the site.   
    Steve Ball references the Natural Resources Wales licence again at 2.21 in the meeting. He says that the Cuddy Group were bringing on the material which was inert and there were allegations that the developer did more than that which are definitely unproven. The planning officer has no way of knowing whether or not the materials the Cuddy Group brought onto the site was inert or not. Neath Port Talbot Council did nothing to regulate the Cuddy Group and the tested soil provides evidence to the contrary. Using the term 'inert' is a deliberate fabrication of information by Steve Ball. 
1999 93-1999-sat-mage.jpg (274777 bytes) The term 'definitely unproven' is also a fabrication of information.

If we look at the history of the site we will get some idea of the tipping habits of the Cuddy group.

From around the late 1930s the site was a municipal ash tip / landfill site. This eventually became privately owned and in 1999 we can see that the land had already been cleared and quarried to certain extent, with part of the historical ash having been removed from the site leaving in some places a depression 20 metres lower than the natural ground level. .

2004 15-20050000E-IM-cuddy-burni.jpg (221800 bytes) By 2004 the Cuddy Group had filled the depressions and the stock pile central to the development had started to take shape. The activities of Cuddy Group were a nuisance to the residents bordering the site. Burning material on site was a regular occurrence. Residents reported this to the council and/or Environment Agency. The Cuddy Group blamed the local children for setting alight the trees.
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The area had always been a local haunt for children, the stream and woods providing opportunities for catching tadpoles and building dens. The actions of the Cuddy Group turned the area into a danger zone. Around this time Jordan Beale, age 9 was playing on the site and building dens out of the materials newly found there. One day Jordan and his friend arrived home with a fridge door. It became illegal to dump fridges and freezers in UK landfill sites on 1 January 2002. The fridge door Jordan brought home was dumped illegally and is classed as hazardous waste. 

In 2005 the Neath Port Talbot Council approved their first set of Cuddy Group plans.  

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If we look at the 2006 image we see that a stockpile has already formed. If we look at the different colour material being tipped at the site and the debris amongst the tipped material, we will see that there is no structure to the tipping. It is believed that the old Neath General Hospital has already been tipped here and that the Cuddy Group are also bringing in waste from the old BP Llandarcy site.
  20-2006.jpg (601204 bytes) In the photos we see upward gradients and piles of tipped material throughout the site showing the stockpile. 



19-1999-2006-comparison.jpg (1009284 bytes) and If we make a comparison between 1999 & 2006 we will see that there is a marked difference in the site levels and the tipped material is being moved towards the flood plain in the south-east corner.
  18-2008-contamination-point.jpg (324951 bytes) This is important to note because in 2008 the land was tested as contaminated above safe levels in 4 out of 6 testing locations including the new tipped area towards the south east corner. These locations can be seen circled in this illustration.

The Cuddy Group submitted this information to the Neath Port Talbot Council and it can found on the planning information website today.  

  89-contam.jpg (117312 bytes) 88-arsenic.jpg (279356 bytes) Three contaminants were identified above the safe level. 

Two of these contaminants were grade 1 classified carcinogens. 

Arsenic, Benzo[a]pyrene & Zinc

  96-human-health-7-1-risk-as.gif (510303 bytes) A risk assessment and remediation strategy was included with this information The Geo-technical report submitted to Neath Port Talbot Council provided evidence that the land should be remediated, that is, cleaned up because of the danger to human health.

This is clear evidence that Steve Ball's term 'definitely unproven' is a fabrication of information. He does this to cover up the planning department malpractice relating to contaminated land that is detailed below which states that the land should have been remediated early in the planning process.


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"One of the key objectives of the council's Contaminated Land Strategy (Key Objective 4:) is to ensure that during the redevelopment of new sites, land contamination issues are dealt with effectively and at an early stage of the planning process."

So what should have happened is that The Cuddy Group should have then cleaned up the site as required by the 'polluter pays principle' detailed in the council contaminated land strategy.

  92-approval.jpg (265698 bytes) But what actually happened is that the Cuddy Group withdrew the plans containing this information and the next set of plans were approved on 23 April 2010. The conditions did not mention contamination or chemical testing and there is no record of any remediation on the site. The Cuddy Group changed the status of the site to 'brownfield' and the planning department complied with this deception by not questioning the change in land status. The contaminants were left on the site and the safety recommendations to protect Glynneath residents from the contamination were ignored. 

Planning department malpractice has endangered the lives of Glynneath residents.  

  89-contam.jpg (117312 bytes) SUMMARY OF INFORMATION

If we refer again to Steve Ball's Natural Resources Wales comments and in particular 

"there were allegations that the developer did more than that which are definitely unproven"

we will see that the Cuddy Group brought contaminated soil onto the site.

Neath Port Talbot Council were informed of this in 2008.

This information is contained on the Neath Port Talbot Council planning department website.

Therefore this statement by Steve Ball is a deliberate attempt at deceiving the planning committee.

  83-2010-sat-image.jpg (258468 bytes) If we return to the site history we will see from the photographic evidence and also resident testimonies that the Cuddy Group continued to tip at the site once the 2010 plans were passed. 
  16-2013.jpg (164964 bytes) In 2013 we can see several piles of tipped material on the site.
  14-nrw-info.jpg (242214 bytes) It is important to note the amount of material already brought onto the site and the already identified contamination because 2013 saw the formation of Natural Resources Wales. It is therefore impossible for the Cuddy Group to have tipped with a Natural Resources Wales licence prior to this date. 

Natural Resources Wales info page

  13-date.jpg (71602 bytes) On 15th August 2014 we see that for the first time the Cuddy Group obtain a licence to tip on the site.


  12.jpg (404489 bytes) About this time we see a change in the tipping habits of the Cuddy Group, they tipped more at night and were also seen using their machines to dig holes, tip material into the holes, then fill over the top, suggesting of course they did not want whatever they tipped to be discovered. .
2014 87-2014-sat-image.jpg (451987 bytes) SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

1 - Image one shows the Cuddy machine busy at work.

2 - Image two shows recently disturbed ground in two isolated spots in the tipped area. 

3. Image three shows machine tracks to these isolated locations.

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This information has been reported to Glynneath Councillor Del Morgan in 2017, the Neath Port Talbot Council planning department in March 2020, the Contaminated Land Officer at Neath Port Talbot Council and Natural Resources Wales in July 2020.

2016 81-2017-sat-image.jpg (272090 bytes) In 2016 the spoil tip on the Cuddy site was reaching Aberfan proportions and a residents group was formed to safeguard the properties bordering the site. The residents informed Neath Port Talbot Council planning via councillor Eddie Jones that the Cuddy Group were using the housing development as a cover for their tipping operations. Neath Port Talbot Council placed an enforcement order on the Cuddy Group to prevent them tipping further. In 2017 the Cuddy Group confirmed this by submitting plans to tip another 5 metres higher.
    Nigel's property overlooks the site and he takes up the story.

The following is a statement from a local resident which formed part of an objection to the planning application for this site. 

"The back of the house including my garden overlooks the tip as I am on top of Brynhyfryd Hill. I get up several times in the night to use the toilet. I have seen a number of lorries dumping in the pitch dark, also at one time with Cuddy and company they kept a machine over there, by day the Cuddy worker would turn up and unbury everything [meaning they would dig up the top of the previous day's hole just above what they had dumped the previous day] I (Dai Richards am also witness to this type of activity, I cycle regularly down the Banwen Rd and I used to stop and watch the Cuddy' vehicles at work]. "I've also been over there (to the proposed Enzo site) early in the morning and seen large metallic barrels containing what I believe to be asbestos, I am familiar with asbestos and I have seen broken bits pushed down into the ground . The barrels also contained chemicals and when the Cuddy machine driver turned up at 8.00am in the morning they were pushed into the ground. There were lorries during the day which were bringing stuff from I don't know where but they were burying all the waste. (I asked this resident  how far away he was from the barrels?) He replied. I kicked them and they were full, they were not empty.

Nigel informed Glynneath councillors including Councillor Del Morgan of the above incident. 

2018 17-2018.jpg (662667 bytes) The Cuddy Group went bankrupt and the site was sold to Enzo Homes, there is no evidence that the Cuddy Group attempted to build homes at the site in the 13 years since they first obtained planning permission to do so. Only the Cuddy Group knows what the Cuddy Group tipped on the site. 
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We've seen how Steve Ball has misrepresented the role of Natural Resources Wales in relation to the site at the Planning Committee meeting in September 2020. Materials had been tipped on site by the Cuddy Group since 2005 and the first Cuddy licence from Natural Resources Wales dates from August 2014. But even though the Cuddy Group are tipping with a Natural Resources Wales licence they are still breaking the planning conditions which states that they should only tip from 12 months onwards from a specified date which the Cuddy Group should have notified the planning department of. Neath Port Talbot Council refuse to provide evidence of a date of commencement for the Cuddy Group tipping.

That the Cuddy Group tipped under an Natural Resources Wales licence is a historical stance which Steve Ball has taken with us since April 2020 and as we have seen in the information presented on this video. It is a misrepresentation of the truth. 


If we refer to all available images of the Heol y Glyn site during the period 1999-2017 we will see that the Cuddy Group made no attempt at building houses, there is no groundwork, no infrastructure such as roads or drainage. What we see is exactly the opposite. The Cuddy Group were making the land unfit for a housing development site by tipping unregulated contaminated waste on the site. 

Neath Port Talbot Council are aware of this and are attempting to cover up their malpractice and negligence. We have seen how the planning official Steve Ball has attempted to legitimise the Cuddy Group's operations by misrepresenting the role of Natural Resources Wales. Prior to the release of this video, we provided members of the planning committee and other council officials including the Head of Planning and Public Protection, Ceri Morris the option of providing counter evidence for Steve Ball's corruption but they have failed to respond to this email.

Neath Port Talbot Councillors continue to support the corrupt actions of Steve Ball and his Planning Department colleagues






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Natural Resources Wales  

Natural Resources Wales info page