An outline planning application by developers Taylor Wimpey to build 350 new homes on a site off Cog Road – just beyond the boundaries of Penarth – prompted spirited exchanges at Penarth Town Council’s planning committee as Labour members attempted to stifle discussion on the issue .
Reporting to the committee the Town Clerk, Shan Bowden, said the proposed scheme was located outside the boundaries of Penarth but was being brought to the committee for observations because of the impact it was likely to have on the infrastructure of the town .
The 12.7 hectare site to the north-east of Sully has been earmarked as a “reserve” site for residential development in the Vale Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) . The outline planning proposal is for 350 new homes, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to large detached houses. It would provide homes for an additional population of 690 people.
Council leader Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines) said “We really don’t need to debate this – it’s going to go through the proper processes and a very wise inspector will decide upon its merits or otherwise . I propose that it’s futile to debate the issue tonight”.
Cllr Anthony Ernest (Conservative Plymouth Ward) disagreed. He thought the Penarth Planning Committee should discuss it. Cllr Ernest said there was a “huge amount of concern about the scale of the development” . The existing local population of Sully and Lavernock was already around 3,500 . This proposal would be adding 690 to that number. Cllr Ernest noted there were “no proposals to improve the highway network in any way”.A “huge amount” of the proposed residential development proposed in the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) was being allocated to Sully.
Planning Committee chairman Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) interrupted to say that the current [Labour] Vale Council’s LDP proposed fewer houses than had been proposed in the previous [Conservative] administration’s LDP and this was a “reserve site” whereas in the [Conservative] LDP it had not been a “reserve site” .Cllr Ernest contradicted Cllr Thomas, telling him that the site had in fact been a “reserve site” in the previous [Conservative] LDP.
Cllr Ernest also anticipated problems for primary schools and school transport. He said that both Sully School and Evenlode primary schools were full and the only available places were in Barry. He also pointed out that most Sully secondary pupils now attend Stanwell School within Penarth and all these pupil movements would create traffic. Cllr Ernest said the planning application was “premature” and should wait until the LDP – “for better or worse” was in place.
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward) said a promised new school had not been provided for the 400 new homes at the end of Dinas Road in Penarth – with the result that children from that area, who were in the catchment area for Evenlode School [where there are no places] , were now having to attend Albert Road Primary School.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts (Labour St Augustines) said ” I really think it’s wrong for us to debate this now” . He thought the proposal was a matter for Sully Council and the Vale of Glamorgan – not for Penarth . Cllr Roberts said he “did not want this to become a party-political issue” – but then went on claim that, in Labour’s LPD, proposed residential development in “all of the Sully/Penarth Zone is very substantially reduced from that permitted by the last [Conservative] administration”. Cllr Roberts insisted ” It’s improper for us to be discussing this here, now”.
Cllr Clive Williams said Cllr Gwyn Roberts had misunderstood him. He had not been making any political points. He had queried the overall requirement for “9000 houses” which was being imposed on the Vale from what he called “the Conservative Government in London”.
Cllr Neil Thomas, who as chairman had introduced the issue to the committee, then said “This is neither the time nor the forum, to debate this issue” .
Cllr Anthony Ernest said the application had been referred to Penarth Town Council and the council was fully entitled to comment on it. He said “We all know once an outline application goes through the system, that’s it. They’ve got their basic consent“.
Cllr Gwyn Roberts claimed the Vale Council had NOT referred the application to Penarth Town Council – it had been brought forward by the Town Clerk. He then proposed a motion :- ” I move that it is inappropriate for us to make any comment on this application“. [PDN Note: In fact Councillor Roberts was wrong. Penarth Council was formally consulted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council. on January 14th 2014 asking for a response by tomorrow February 4th 2014.]
Cllr Ernest moved an amendment to Cllr Roberts’s motion , which was seconded by Cllr Clive Williams. It said “We note the points made in this meeting and that they be conveyed to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.”
Cllr Neil Thomas (chairing the committee) counted the show-of-hands votes and declared the amendment lost. This was disputed by Cllr Ernest who said the vote had been 3 for and 3 against – but the chairman said there had, in fact, been 4 votes against.(PDN regrets it cannot report how individual councillors voted as it was not possible to see their hands)
The substantive motion then received 4 votes in favour and none against. The end result, therefore, was that Penarth Town Council Planning Committee is making no official comment on the Taylor Wimpey outline planning application.