Tuesday 22 October 2013

Stradey call-in....called-in

Things must have got a little awkward the other week between the Council and the Welsh Government when Carl Sargeant (Minister for Planning) decided to call-in the Stradey homes development application.

Although it related to an application to extend the time limit of the outline planning, it seems the Minister is looking at the principle of the development. Taylor Wimpey had already started the work, with the blessing of Carmarthenshire's planners, even though flood alleviation measures had not been carried out, despite this particular planning condition being a requirement before the development was to start.

The minister noted that the flood maps had changed since the original approval and the site was now largely on a flood plain and surrounding properties to this artificially elevated development were now at recognised risk from flooding.  The Welsh Government had also issued a 'stop notice' in November 2012 to prevent the council from issuing a decision on the extension application whilst the call-in request was being decided. This was ignored.

Carmarthenshire Council had argued that commencement was lawful under the 'reserved matters' (detailed) planning permission, Mr Sargeant disagreed;

"In my view there is insufficient information in this respect [flood risk] to show that all the relevant policy considerations have been fully addressed by Carmarthenshire County council's Planning Committee in resolving to grant planning permission...I have concluded therefore that the planning application appears to conflict with national planning policies relating to development and flooding and that it raises issues of more than local importance"

This has been a lengthy saga, inextricably linked with the Scarlet's move to Parc Y Scarlets. The development, of 355 homes contains no affordable dwellings - the contribution to the stadium was considered sufficient despite section 106 agreements supposedly limited to the immediate area where the development takes place.

As you may imagine the council have pulled out all the stops to ensure the development takes place whether or not it has a detrimental effect on local residents, many of whom have fought tooth and nail to ensure that both the development and the planning process has been appropriate. As usual, they have been branded as a minority of troublemakers by the council and been a thorn in the side of the smooth relationship between County Hall, the Scarlets and Taylor Wimpey.
It seems though that the Welsh Government are erring on the side of caution and agree with the residents that they are at risk.

The details are complex but the upshot of it all is that the council's own interests, and the interests of various officers and Members over the years, Scarlets season ticket holders, shareholders and assorted invitations to various rugby events have shown that, in this particular case, the whole business should probably have been determined and handled by an independent authority.

(numerous previous posts, including here, which is directly relevant to the call-in)

Update; Cneifiwr has posted further information here .

Update; I understand that the council's head of planning remains of the view that despite this call-in, there is nothing stopping Taylor Wimpey from continuing to progress with the development based on earlier applications, including, without doubt, the council themselves.

The Minister has now called in two planning applications due to flooding concerns, both involving the council as an interested party, the Grillo site and Stradey.

With flood alerts along the River Towy in Llandeilo in force over the past couple of days, the Minister needs to have another look at the council's decision to site the new superschool on the floodplains of Ffairfach, 


Anonymous said...

Come in CCC, your time is up?

Anonymous said...

If only, Anon 11.44. They're teflon-coated.

Tessa said...

Some of the new houses were on the market - now pulled off - see