There’ve been problems today for members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s Planning Committee on what was supposed to be a formal “site visit” to farmland at Cog Road, Sully – the controversial site of 350 proposed new homes.
About thirty local residents opposing the scheme and representing the “Saving Sully”organisation had assembled near the BP sports ground with banners and placards and set off on a march to the Cog Road site along the narrow country road to meet the councillors.
The controversial housing scheme is by developers Taylor Wimpey. Local farmers say this land is amongst the most productive agricultural land anywhere in the Vale and produces three crops every two years. Local residents say they’ve been told the land is worth between £5,000,000 and £10,000,000.
The Vale of Glamorgan Council, however, is under pressure to come up with approved sites for the 9,000 new homes that it has estimated are needed in the Vale .
Opponents say the Vale Council’s 9,000 figure is a gross over-estimate of the actual future demand for housing and is based on council house waiting lists – and that, in any case, the proposed new private homes would be financially out-of-reach for most council tenants.
The initial planning application for the Cog Road site is for 350 houses – but a second parcel of land could subsequently be added to the first to create a new 500-home housing estate – a development which it’s feared would add considerably to road congestion in the area – including Penarth – and put further pressure on Penarth schools lready crammed full.
It’s understood the council could potentially be penalised if it fails to meet its own self-imposed target that it committed to in its Local Development Plan.
The impromptu procession walked North along Swanbridge Road – every so-often having to take to the hedgerows, as heavy lorries, farm tractors and cars attempted to squeeze past them.
The evasive action the marchers had to take to dodge the traffic was ample evidence that the existing road infrastructure would be totally inadequate for carrying the extra volume of cars which would be generated by the housing development – if it is built.
A banner was unfurled at the southernmost of two large fields which could eventually form a second section of a huge housing development – ultimately containing up to 500 homes. The two parcels of land are under separate tenancies and are owned by different owners.
When the marchers – bearing placards with a variety of slogans – reached the Cog Road cross-roads they discovered that the councillors were already alighting from a mini-bus which had brought them to the site from Barry.
Immediately however there was a further problem.It transpired that the tenant farmer who occupies the land, had not given his permission for the councillors to enter onto his fields.
The councillors were told by officials that it would not be possible for them to go onto the land and they could view it only from the road or from a nearby private garden .
Marcus Goldsworthy, the Head of Regeneration & Planning at the Vale of Glamorgan Council marshalled the councillors into a nearby drive-way for a briefing .
Cllr Fred Johnson the chairman of the Vale of Glamorgan council formally opened the alfresco meeting.
Technically it was a preliminary to tonight’s full planning committee meeting at the Vale of Glamorgan HQ starting at 18:05 at which the Cog Road scheme is due to be debated and decided upon.
Marcus Goldsworthy outlined the proposed scheme and described the two proposed access points for the development which would lead to a single spine road through the development with several cul-de-sacs leading off it. He also pointed out to the planning committee members that a number of Grade II listed buildings stand within the immediate vicinity of the development .
Mr Goldsworthy said the development plan itself had, as yet, “no firm detail” but there were schemes for drainage, highways, safety, noise and “visual impact”. Further details like the developer’s Section 106 payment [ money paid by the developer to the Vale Council to ameliorate the effects of the development] had yet to be agreed.
Fuller detail should be available in tonight’s planning committee meeting due to start at 18:05 which is scheduled to be broadcast on the Vale of Glamorgan Council website. Two leading members of the Saving Sully Group will be invoking their right to address councillors at tonight’s meeting .