VALE “RUSHED-THROUGH” BARRATT’S BID TO AVOID ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON 225 NEW HOMES

The site of the proposed 225 new Barratt homes is on a 7-field site on Murch Road Dinas Powys (outlined here in red) – is only 400 metres from the Penarth Learning Community on Sully Road.

A controversial plan by Barratt Homes Ltd to build 225 new dwellings at the former St Cyres School site at Murch Road, Dinas Powys – on the outskirts of Penarth – is not to be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment – the Vale of Glamorgan Council has decided.

A full planning application for the scheme has not yet been made  – but the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council is said to have already agreed with Barratt Homes that an Environmental Impact Assessment WILL NOT be necessary.

The 7 fields which comprise the site for Barratt’s proposed 225 new homes include the site of the old – demolished –  St Cyres school (Google Earth)

Because it’s so near to Penarth –  (the site is just 400 metres from the new “Penarth Learning Community” campus on Sully Road) – the development will inevitably have implications for Penarth as well as Dinas Powys .

It’s the latest attempt by the Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council to shoe-horn yet more housing into the  area in order to meet what many regard as its grossly over-estimated and unjustified housing-construction targets.

The site in question comprises 7 fields of what was once  an ancient woodland. It is described by Barratt’s as “agricultural land surrounded bny mature hederows and hedge trees”.  The old St Cyres School site is in the north-eastern part of the site.

Independent candidates who are standing in May’s Vale of Glamorgan Council elections have now taken action to thwart the cosy agreement said to have been reached last week between the Vale Council and Barratt Homes.

The fight against the proposal is being led by an Independent Dinas Powys candidate for the Vale Council  John Maitland Evans who knows planning procedures like the back of his hand. He is a former Chief Executive of the Vale of Glamorgan Council who retired in 2012 when Labour took control of the council.

He and his colleagues are now challenging the Vale Council’s decision to ostensibly wave-though Barratt’s request not to bother with Environmental Impact Assessment and are now to use a little-known procedure which allows third-parties to ask the Welsh Government directly to override the council’s decision.

John Maitland Evans  and his colleagues believe the Labour administration in the current Vale Council has “rushed the decision and simply gone ‘through the motions’, instead of taking a long and hard look at the developer’s requests”.

 

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22 Responses to VALE “RUSHED-THROUGH” BARRATT’S BID TO AVOID ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT ON 225 NEW HOMES

  1. Chris Franks says:

    A former Chief Executive should be aware that the Council has now made a decision. To pretend that this will be over turned is risking confusing people and raises false hopes. Government Civil Servants did contact the council about the matter but did not take any further action. In fact the ‘little known procedure’ quoted is well known by people who have been actively involved for the last 5 years in opposing the Local Development Plan. If only we had received the support of such experts!

    • Colin Davies says:

      Chris, I can only assume by actively involved for 5 years you actually mean “I’ve done nothing for the my constituents” This response reeks of sour grapes on your behalf and your parties behalf, you are doing yourself no favours at all. This is called being pro-active not being re-active or even passive as Plaid Cymru have been over the past near 20 years in Dinas Powys. I look forward to your response quoting the number of litter picks you’ve done!!

      • Chris Jones says:

        I would gladly volunteer to help with litter picks in around Dinas, if only I knew where and when…..Not sure where “we” would stand in cleaning the signage though….they are filthy at best 😡

      • Kevin Mahoney says:

        Chris Jones

        Re signage

        Contact the Vale, I had the very large road signage opposite Sully Church cleaned up recently as it was heading towards being unreadable due to the green sap covering off the trees which had built up over some time.

        The work was carried out within 48 hours of my initial request.

        As regards not having an enviromental impact assessment carried out on a development of this size, that one was tried on us in Sully at Cog but we insisted that this had to be carried out, which it then was before the application was heard.

        Due to the actions of all Labour and Conservative councillors on the planning committee the application passed anyway.

        I ws under the impression that any development over 50 houses required one ( and I feel that any development of any size should have one anyway, it doesn’t make sense not to be made aware of the Enviromental implications of building and construction work)

    • Ben Winstanley says:

      About time we had somebody who knows what they are doing attempting to intervene on behalf of Dinas Powys on development matters.

    • Philip Rapier says:

      Personally I welcome these “Independent” Road to Damascus (via the Merrie Harrier) converts to the Anti Traffic Pollution Cause. Any experience previously gained plus past insider knowledge will be priceless and I wish them every success. Petty political churlishness is not helpful it is far too serious and dangerous for that.
      The fact is (if confirmed) not to demand an Environmental Impact Assessments is an appalling, cowardly decision,
      Do they care nothing whatsoever for the effects of Traffic Pollution on pupils at Cogan and Dinas Powys Primary Schools?
      The scientifically proved detrimental effect on the respiratory health and learning ability of our children and grandchildren is frightening. . There is also a proven link to Dementia and Alzheimers Disease.
      . They prefer to quake in their boots at the thought of a fine and citation by the Welsh Government Inspectorate for not providing enough unnecessary houses for people who don’t actually live in the Vale.
      Shame on them!
      Their failure presents an opportunity for those in both Communities desperately concerned. Those people at risk who live daily with the pernicious Cogan Dip Exhaust Fume Danger Levels at Windsor Road Penarth and Cardiff Road Dinas Powys.
      Engage now with Environmental Specialists and the recent “converts” in Dinas Powys to force a Public Inquiry.
      All the Vale has to do is “man up” and refuse final Planning Permission. A Public Inquiry will surely follow

  2. As an adjacent Ward Councillor. I have to ask just what consultation the Vale carried out with Penarth Town Council, when giving the go-ahead to this development just yards from Sully Road. The simple answer is none whatsoever, and the Vale’s Cabinet is well aware of what they are doing to increase traffic and environmental impact on the entire area, not least those that currently have Labour candidates standing for re-election.

  3. JME Snr says:

    Just to advise I’m not a community councillor. Whilst I’ve no wish to engage in unproductive discussions with Mr Franks I would like to point out the following
    1 My correspondence with Welsh Government is ongoing and I’ve not been advised to date of the outcome of my request, although I concede the possibility that it may not be successful. What my action demonstrates to the Council is that their actions regarding this site will be closely and better monitored in future.
    2. I have emphasised to Welsh Government my concerns regarding the adequacy of the information provided by the developer’s agent as a basis for the Council making an informed decision. There are also some procedural issues regarding how the Council has handled consultations on the matter.
    3. No-one seems sure whether the Council has sold or is selling the site. Either way the Council runs the risk of its actions being perceived as involving a vested interest incompatible with their planning responsibilities. This is obviously a matter of perception but these days people’s perceptions quickly become people’s realities. I believe the Council owes the community a clear duty of care to ensure the highest standards are applied to any development of this site.
    4. The development is described as for 225 hoses with variou ancillary facilities.This description undersells what might happen. In my 40 years experience as a town planner the one thing you can count on is that on big sites such as this one the number of houses built well exceeds the number first applied for. This fact reinforces the need for the proper baseline assessment an EIA would ensure.
    My only point to Mr Franks is that if he knew about the procedure why didn’t he invoke it. It may or may not be successful but if you don’t put the effort in and try you won’t know. As a Council officer I dealt with elected members who went that extra mile to challenge to get a result that would benefit their community. Cllr Clive Williams and my current running mate for the May election Cllr Chris Williams were two of these. However there were others who were content to make unproductive noise for the benefit of their photo opportunity and gave up at the first hurdle.
    I’ll be disappointed if my request is turned down by Welsh Government but I won’t be disappointed in myself that I haven’t done my best to try and reverse what I believe is the wrong decision.
    I could say a lot more but I’ll stop now. People want to see results from their local representatives not worthless posturing.

    • Chris Williams says:

      Well said John. I might point out that I brought this matter to the attention of the Dinas Powys Community Council after I had waited to see if it would be raised by Cllr Franks and his colleagues in his report to Council on behalf of his Party Group. I did this at the request of the Chairwoman, Cllr Margaret Hayley. I urged Members to demand an EIA. i then took action with my Independent Colleagues John and Tom Maitland-Evans to take all available steps open to us at Vale Council and Welsh Government levels.
      We prefer to work hard with all stakeholders to attain a common goal and resist the temptation to take unfair credit for the work of others or fill letterboxes with misinformation and cheap photocalls. We look forward to begin working with others, for the community, if voters decide, after May 4th.
      I’m grateful to the Editor for his response to my email to him regarding this issue.

      • Arthur King says:

        ‘.. waited to see if it would be raised …’. Another example of playing politics that independents claim to despise. In your past political life did you ever take part in ‘cheap photo calls’ or ‘..take unfair credit ..’ or ‘.. fill letterboxes..’?

      • Chris Williams says:

        Maybe you misunderstood Mr King. I acted on the Chairwoman’s wishes. In my past political life I made mistakes which I have learned from, like everyone else. I don’t take unfair credit for others hard work. I was once party to that kind of cheap ‘spin’, one of the reasons that I am now Independent.

  4. Chris David says:

    So Mr Maitland Evans (is your name hyphenated?) Just to cut to the quick are you saying that this development cannot be stopped? If planning has not yet been agreed could the lections change things? Are you saying your concern is to ensure the council behave properly in the future (I just cant understand how we have a system whereby a council can ignore undertaking an impact study) and (also) do not increase the proposal over and above the 225 units applied for? I’m hoping with your long experience and independence ticket you can help bring the rogue (remember Anglesey) VoG to book. One day I’d like to understand why the WG are allowing overcrowding in the Vale and not constructing plans to develop north of the M4 and helping the economy there!

    • David Jones says:

      I agree, in matters of this nature and knowing the bureaucratic and litigation prone nature of our society, I am at a loss as to how a development can go ahead without full due diligence. Adding 50 houses to DP would have an impact, 225 is almost another small village. Why haven’t the local councillors jumped all over this?

  5. Deborah Tucker says:

    As a resident of Dinas Powys I really appreciate all of you fighting these life changing decisions that have been made on (my) behalf. I am concerned as much as anyone that dodgy dealings to satisfy the fat cat developers have been made behind closed doors for reasons we will never know. This is an opportunity to come together to fight these issues not have snipes at every opportunity so please we all want the same things for Dinas – channel your energies together !

  6. David Jones says:

    In response to the first poster

    In the interest of transparency Chris, I think you ought to point out that you are a councillor in one of the Dinas Powys wards – not everyone knows you by name!

    This is an issue which will lead to a material difference to the lives of many of the residents of Dinas Powys.

    If this development goes ahead without a full environmental impact study, this will be a most retrograde outcome for your residents. The least we can expect is that our elected representatives represent us to the fullest of their abilities and can demonstrate this. Prior to reading this article, I wasn’t aware that this development was not subject to a full study – 225 houses is not insignificant and its impact on traffic alone will worry many residents.

    I am thankful to the prospective candidate for having highlighted it and to have instigated investigations.

    Rather than question his integrity or knowledge as you do, I was expecting you to have agreed with his views on the matter and to have outlined the steps and actions you have taken to achieve the best outcome for your residents – as I note, if this development does progress without residents understanding its impact, our councillors will have failed to represent us appropriately.

    I wish you well in the upcoming elections; if anything, the independents who are contesting the seats appear to have cast light on some matters which were previously unknown to myself and other residents which is an outcome we all recognise.

  7. Victoria Guilfoyle says:

    Many years ago I was a member of Dinas Powys Pony Club and rode a pony that was kept on Cross Common Road. The old Pony Club fields (which are planned to be built on) are next to a densely populated area and narrow, busy roads (both Sully Road and also the adjacent roads in Dinas Powys) which were, even many years ago, hazardous to ride or cycle around. Is adding another 225 dwellings, which do not appear to be wanted by the local population, really a good idea? The wider implications for pollution and congestion are obvious and have been raised by others.

  8. Penileaks says:

    Quite strange really.
    Some years ago I applied to build a house on a plot that I owned in Penarth. For that one house, the VoG planning people insisted that an Environmental Impact assessment was produced before they would even consider it.
    Thankfully it was a fairly simple process to produce and submit , but why do the VoG insist that one-man-bands produce such reports and dismiss the need for a such a report for a very large national company intending to build hundreds of houses. Perhaps it is because the report will highlight matters that the VoG planners do not wish to hear and will find difficult to argue with ?

  9. Max Wallis says:

    The request to the Welsh Government is not for “call-in” (seldom granted) but for EIA “screening”. Under the ‘urban development project’ category, for a project that could have “significant” effect on the environment. VoG officers (not really “the Council”) decided “not significant” but they commonly abuse the EIA legislation – thus they decided the large incinerator on Barry Dock was unlikely to have significant effect! The Welsh Government officer was no better, when sitting at his comfortable desk he rubber-stamped support for the Council without any evidence on significant effects (in earlier years, they did ask for specialist reports). So JME should not sit back awaiting the WG decision, but mount a political campaign to force the WG to take the screening decision seriously, at highest level. It must be easy to show that 230 extra homes discharging vehicles via the Murch road could cause “significant” extra congestion delays and pollution; and that the extra emissions from congested vehicles could “significantly” effect asthmatic children at the school and walking to and from it. JME would know to argue against the Vale planners’ excuse of ‘mitigation’ measures, by saying significant effects would still remain,

    • Chris David says:

      Yes I ‘ve asked Mr Maitland Evans a couple of questions re studies and if the elections could change things. NO answer….. as yet. He does state he’ll be active so maybe.

      • JME Snr says:

        Apologies for not responding sooner. There will inevitably be some development on the site. The key issue is minimising the impact and maximising the community benefits that could result, for example, the provision of open space and recreational facilities. I would have expected the Council as site owners to have insisted on certain requirements, for example the number and type of housing to be built in any conditions of sale. Such requirements would be far more watertight than planning conditions which can be appealed. These are matters that need to be actively and thoroughly pursed irrespective of who is elected and indeed should have been progressed previously. My involvement with the EIA reflected a desire to leave no stone unturned in an attempt to ensure the highest standards of environmental assessment for what will be the largest development in Dinas for probably 50 years. My previous comments hopefully explain why the EIA is needed.

  10. Arthur King says:

    It took Chris Williams a long time to learn from his ‘mistakes’. More than happy to continue with them for many years. Can a leopard can change its spots?

  11. Chris David says:

    Please keep on it JME. I hope you and fellow independents can keep the labour councillors in check.. They are very worrying and have too much power.

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