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Site visit for the former Blaengwawr Comprehensive School site but will the committee look at the bigger picture?

Development control at RCTC have requested a site visit posted on Twitter by Anthony Lewis Local Democracy Reporter for WalesOnline covering Rhondda Cynon Taf area “Cllr Richard Yeo calls for a site visit for the 120 home application for the former Blaengwawr Comprehensive School site in Aberaman,”

 

Will the committee on the site visit actually look at the problems or not? Will they look at the bigger picture not just the proposed development probably not as they will only be interested in the current proposal of just a small section of land in the application?

 

But the council’s plan is to allow development extensively in this area down as far as Blaengwawr Primary school an to the rear of Club Street otherwise why would they spend thousands on surveying the area in the first place if it is not for development?

 

The council has spent £100,000 on Club Street Chris Bradshaw

Chief Executive said,

“The answer to your query on the road widening is much the same in that RCT undertaking the works means that the abnormals for redevelopment of the school are reduced and the value goes up – so the road investment is neutral. The benefit of tackling it this way is that the work is done in advance of the redevelopment meaning the traffic benefits accrue early and construction traffic is less of a problem. An element of the widening was necessary for the development of the extra care facility at Maes Y Ffynon, which is progressing well.”

 

Chris Bradshaw’s explanation did not take into account that Club Street highway reduces in capacity (the road narrows) way before it enters the Blaengwawr Comprehensive School site and again the highway reduces in capacity way before the approach to the junction of Cardiff Road therefor there is a problem at both ends the Cardiff Road junction being the main problem.

 

Planning and Development Committee has 7 labour members therefor the odds are stacked in favour of whatever the labour controlled council want irrespective if it is what local people want. With future developments of this large site, a new access road is essential and it is achievable but the planning department don’t even want a footpath into Maesyffynon Lane let alone a new access road.

 

You only need to read what the planning department has written to see how the planners are not looking at the bigger picture taking in the whole site, not just the small area applied for at this first stage it's just another labour con job or should I say another labour half a job.

 

Below taken from PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE 4 APRIL 2019 REPORT OF THE SERVICE DIRECTOR, PLANNING

 

• Traffic Regulation Orders.

"The assessment takes full account of the presence of the sports pitch, sheltered accommodation and church, current parking provision and the loss of on street parking because of the proposed access arrangements. Traffic flow and congestion as at present and previously have also been considered as have the suitability of the roads to accommodate larger vehicles. The singular use of Club Street as a means of access is also acceptable. One of the residents points out that some of the data used in the transport assessment is eight years old, this is true in terms of the base data used, however growth factors have been applied to it and it still demonstrates that the development can take place within acceptable thresholds. Having given appropriate consideration to all of the above issues Highways Development Control have concluded that subject to conditions the proposals are acceptable in highway terms. As such, the proposed development is considered compliant with policy AW5 of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Local Development Plan insofar as it relates to the issue of access and highway safety. Other Issues: The following other material considerations have been taken into account in considering the application, though were not the key determining factors in reaching the recommendation. Members will be aware that the application site is currently in the ownership of the County Borough Council and that there is agreement between the prospective developer and the Council to address the educational implications through the land transfer arrangements. This will take place outside of the consideration of the planning application. Members will note that residents have commented at length about the drainage of the site in relation to the Nant Gwawr stream. Whilst surface water drainage will be directed to the Nant Gwawr, to the south east of the application site, the approach is supported with a drainage strategy which illustrates that discharge rates will be substantially attenuated and that the proposed development is compliant with the requirements of TAN 15 Development and Flood Risk. Other suggestions relating to the maintenance and improvement of the Nant Gwawr stream as put forward by residents lie beyond the scope of the consideration of this planning application. One objector has suggested that the Council have pre-determined the application and regardless of the level of objection consent will be granted. No evidence is produced to support the assertion and the planning application will be determined on its planning merit. Members will no doubt note that the assessment above covers issues that both favour and count against the proposed development. The requirements for the Section 106 agreement are addressed below. As mentioned above Members are advised not to allow the footpath link to Maesyffynon Grove and as such, there would be no need or requirement to address the play issue raised.”

 

“Non-Planning Issues

The suggestion that the developer or Members would be in some way be culpable should an incident occur at some indeterminate point in the future is not a planning consideration Whether or not there was a provision/covenant made when Maesyffynon Grove was built to the effect that it should remain a cul de sac is of itself not a planning consideration. Issues relating to who paid for what in terms of the demolition of the school, the provision of the bat house and the widening of Club Street are not material to the consideration and determination of this planning application. Some residents have suggested that the development of the site will lead to the devaluation of their own property. Whilst no evidence is produced to support this assertion, in any event, it is not a planning consideration.”

 

Issues relating to who paid for what in terms of the demolition of the school, the provision of the bat house and the widening of Club Street are not material to the consideration and determination of this planning application. They may not be material to the consideration and determination of this planning application but someone should pay and as the council said the developer will pay why is this not within the scope of the application as a condition to the development?

 

The council has spent £100,000 on Club Street not forgetting what Chris Bradshaw Chief Executive said,

“The answer to your query on the road widening is much the same in that RCT undertaking the works means that the abnormals for redevelopment of the school are reduced and the value goes up – so the road investment is neutral. The benefit of tackling it this way is that the work is done in advance of the redevelopment meaning the traffic benefits accrue early and construction traffic is less of a problem.

 

Looks like the council has made its mind up so the developer wins, 10 to the developer nil to the local residents.

 

https://www.rctcbc.gov.uk/EN/Council/CouncillorsCommitteesandMeetings/Meetings/PlanningandDevelopmentCommittee/2019/04/04/Reports/Item5Application181346.pdf

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP

·       Cllr. BONETTO Jill

·       Cllr. CAPLE. Gareth - (Vice-Chair)

·       Cllr. GREHAN Danny

·       Cllr. HARRIES Jack

·       Cllr. HUGHES Gareth Wyn

·       Cllr. JARMAN Pauline

·       Cllr. OWEN Wayne

·       Cllr. POWELL Stephen Mark

·       Cllr. REES Sharon - (Chair)

·       Cllr. WILLIAMS Julie

·       Cllr. YEO Richard