Tuesday 7 August 2012

Planning; Carmarthen West and Llandovery

Back in February 2011 I wrote about the West Carmarthen Development Brief which outlined proposals for 1200 homes and a 'relief road', mostly in the rolling countryside. It looks like the first planning application has gone in; this one is for 94 houses for Persimmon Homes. I mention it because, as is often the case, large controversial applications are popped in during the quiet days of summer when there is less chance of anyone noticing.

This one was validated on the 17th July and there is around 21 days to object (or support, of course). There is some doubt as to how the necessary large scale infrastructure will be funded, a 'roof tax' was mentioned but this would not be raised until houses were sold, but according to the application none of the 94 homes are affordable - so I suppose that requirement has been commuted towards 'infrastructure', who knows.

Concerns were raised last year as to whether there is any need or demand for such a colossal development of 1200 homes in the first place. In 2010 the council commissioned consultants Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners to produce the glossy Brief and Land Use Study to tell us there was a need, for which they were paid £26,000. I always find these supposedly independent appraisals perhaps lack objectivity, as often the various developers are also clients of the consultants. In this case it's no different as one of NLP's large portfolio of clients are....Persimmon Homes.

If you want to comment, and you can find your way through the planning section of the council website, the application number is W/26885

Things are also hotting up in Llandovery, to the north of the county, as large housing developments are planned. The first one has gone in for 76 homes. Accusations of bungs to town councillors have been hotly denied and Cllr Jackson has already caused a stir by stating that the 76 home application will be passed without a problem. A residents action group has been formed, mainly to make people aware of what's going on, (as the council are unlikely to), and make sure their concerns are heard in County Hall (the local Cllr Jackson, given his track record, is also unlikely to do that either).

As I have mentioned, the campaigners trying to save Pantycelyn secondary school from closure lost the final legal battle to obtain a Judicial Review at the end of July. One would imagine that the apparently burgeoning population of the town would remove the reasons for closure. Apparently not, and it was with the usual glee that the failed legal bid was announced by the council, with the Leader Kevin Madge describing it as 'excellent news' and the Director of Education using the supposedly politically impartial Media Section of the council website to blame the children, parents, staff, and townsfolk for 'causing distress' to the children by delaying the council plans and the onslaught of the school bulldozers. Charming.

Local people should also be aware that 'Independent' (what a joke) County Councillors Jackson and Theophilus (Theophilus represents the feeder area) both voted for the apparently delighted Cllr Madge to be Labour Leader of the Council. I have also heard rumours though that the folk of Llandovery town are feeling a bit betrayed by Cllr Jackson, so much so that he's given up walking his dog and is thinking of upping sticks and retreating to Abergavenny....

Update; Whilst on the subject of Carmarthenshire planning I see that the planned Sainsburys stores in both Llandeilo and the Cross Hands have been 'called-in' by the Welsh Government.

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