Friday, 13 September 2013

Planning - Practising what we preach

Interesting report in the South Wales Guardian this week over the refusal to allow a butcher in Llandeilo to replace his windows with UPVC when many of the surrounding properties have already done so, some without permission. It's in a Conservation Area and yes, the whole UPVC/wood argument is often contentious. The Head of Planning, defending the recommendation to refuse, said that the materials were 'inappropriate' and "...we try to provide an element of consistency. We have a statutory duty to enhance conservations areas. We are practicing what we preach."

Cllr Emlyn Dole (Plaid) who sits on the planning committee asked the Head of Planning if wooden windows were going to be used in the new secondary school about half a mile away, given that it was in an area of natural beauty. The Head of Planning said he couldn't remember but that wood had been used on 'other iconic buildings'. The word iconic, in Carmarthenshire council terms is somewhat overused, the latest building given that description being the newly refurbished multi-storey car park in Llanelli.

Anyway, back to Statutory Duties and practising what we preach. The plans for the new superschool mentioned by Cllr Dole show that, in fact, powder-coated aluminium windows will be used, not wood.
The site is also located in the Tywi Valley Special Landscape Area and the Tywi Valley Registered Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest. It is also in close proximity to the River Tywi Special Area of Conservation and the Dinefwr Estate SSSI. The report to the planning committee stated that the school buildings will 'challenge' the objectives of the council's UDP policies and cause 'harm to the character and appearance' of the landscape but the 'benefits to the community' were deemed to outweigh these, and numerous other concerns, which I'll not go into again here. The council, naturally, approved its own application.

Practising what we preach? The butcher from Llandeilo must be wondering why he couldn't have his windows....

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