Planning permission for 240 homes, vehicular and pedestrian access, car parking and landscaping at the Genwen Farm in Penygraig have been approved at a planning meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council today, Tuesday (Jul 11) following a two hour, twenty minute session where objectors and councillors aired some serious concerns regarding the plans.
Retired Civil Servant Caryl Phillips told the planning committee that Penderi was high above the village of Bynea and that the proposed development would be three times size of the existing settlement. She claimed that the developers Persimmon Homes had not made any attempts to meet with residents. She said that there were issues with sustainability and public transport and that allowing the development to go ahead would be a green light to the establishment of a commuter development. She said: “Schools are full and there are no local facilities, no community centre. The officers’ report paints a different picture.”
Mrs Phillips claimed that last week a man was asked by the developer to move tyres and another to move horses. She said: “All this before you had considered the application.”
Another resident Del Phillips said he had concerns over excessive discharges of sewage. He said that in May this year the UK Government were convicted over discharges and that new houses would put pressure on the system.
Mr Phillips said that the plan was to install a sewage tank which would hold 260 tonnes. He said: “Effluent from 240 houses does not help in complying with legislation. Dwr Cymru sell services to developers.”
Luke Davies of Persimmon Homes said that the development provided opportunities for first time buyers and local people. He said that at their Hendy development 60% of houses had been sold to residents within 10km. Mr Davies insisted that 240 dwellings were acceptable and complied with The Local Development Plan (LDP). He said it had all been addressed and approved under planning.
Llanelli Rural Councillor Michelle Donoghue addressed the committee and said: “As someone who lives in Penygraig I have regular contacts with worried parents about traffic. We are putting our own and children’s lives in danger. There are already parking problems and parts without pavements.
“Allowing an extra 240 homes can only make matters worse.
Mrs Donoghue spoke about the increase of traffic and said: “Penygraig estate will encounter hundreds of extra car journeys daily. It is only a matter of time before accident. There will be additional traffic, which will make problems for people with disabilities and mothers with children.
Speaking about the dangers of the roadways Mrs Donoghue said: “There is a blind bend where children cross to access the footpath, which leads to Bynea school. There are safety issues for children walking to school. Local schools are full. The head of planning has been asked to comment on numerous occasions but failed to reply. After the horse has bolted springs to mind. Dwr Cymru say the tanks are to be rented. There are serious health worries.
Mrs Donoghue describes the system for dealing with the volume of sewage generated by the development as ‘a victorian proposal to store sewage’. She went on to say that there would be lengthy waiting times at doctor’s surgeries. And asked “Where are all new residents going to go? It is not acceptable. It is irresponsible.”
Councillor Sharen Davies spoke about the impact on the infrastructure and the list of changes to the first application. She said: “This is a major development, which will affect thousands of people now and in future. Consequently there are a number of breaches not identified from earlier applications. This site is in Bynea but has knock on effect in Llwynhendy. Flooding into homes including ground floor facilities. Traffic problematic, no place available for pupils. Llwynhendy is one of the Poorest areas in Llanelli and there will be more overcrowding. There will be added transport with no improvement of infrastructure in area or even in Llanelli. By continuing to build with out infrastructure to provide for individuals we are putting people at risk.”
Councillor Gwyn Thomas said: “this is a huge development affecting thousands of people. There will be 4,500 more vehicles. It is an unacceptable increase in traffic levels and a dangerous situation for residents and children.
Cllr Thomas said that there would be noise and air quality problems with 1,450 additional journeys a day, almost half a million in and out every year. He said: “It will have an adverse affect on Bryn, Llwywhendy and Llangennech.
Cllr Thomas told the committee that he could not be expected to make a decision on out of date information. He said: “We must stand up for what’s right, not profit for developers but quality of life for residents.”
County Councillor for Bynea Derek Cundy said: “As a councillor my primary role is to protect the future well being of people in my ward.
Cllr Cundy highlighted the impact on the local infrastructure of building new homes. He said: “Education is near to capacity. £205,000 is required to provide more placements. It is destroying our rurality. It will be an urban dormitory with no adult facilities, hundreds of tonnes of sewage. The local community, the MP, AM, the Flood Forum and Rural Council have all objected. There have been Meetings protests and letters to editors yet no meeting so that concerns can be debated and a true and fair consultation undertaken. Highway’s assured a road safety masterplan but that did not materialise. Look out for a development coming near to you if you approve this today.”
Cllr Kevin Madge reiterated Cllr Cundy’s views that a lot of new houses would have a huge impact on the infrastructure. He said: “There is no community hall. Where are people going to meet.? There is a shortage of places in schools impacting on the community. What about the noise of the pumping station? Why has the community not been consulted. It is obvious that has not been done. Welsh Water should be here to explain what has been going on there. There are a lot of things I am not happy about. My conclusion is that this is one development too many.”
Planning officer: John Thomas told councillors that they planned the LDP an allocated sites for housing, which they had adopted and endorsed. He said: “Natural Resources Wales have not objected. There have been no statutory objections.”
Councillors were reminded that there may be an appeal process if the matter did not proceed. They were reminded that outline planning already existed. John Thomas said that the principle was approved and exists and could not be taken away. He emphasised that councillors were dealing with the details on paper of design, layout drainage and landscaping for consideration. He said: “If members are minded to refuse they must have clear, concise, robust reasons”.
Councillor Ken Howells appeared to take heed of the legal advice and said: “We are not experts. We have to take what is written in the report. How are we going to justify turning this down. If it goes to appeal it is the council who will have a fine and have to pay for it.”
The council’s legal representative Steve Murphy said: “It is costs not a fine.”
Councillor Ken Lloyd suggested that if turned down the developers might have an opportunity to work with the residents.
Chairman of the Planning Committee Alun Lenny was more realistic. He said: “In a perfect world maybe, but that is not the case.”
It was left to Councillor Tyssul Evans to deliver the final blow to the objectors. He said: “They (the objectors) wish us to refuse it in its entirety. Planning has been granted. I agree with Ken Howell We have no basis on which to refuse the application. The developer has been very sensible. For those reasons I cannot see any basis for refusal I recommend we approve the officers recommendation.”
Councillors voted 7 in favour, 5 against with 4 abstentions. Planning was granted.