A plan that will shape future development throughout Monmouthshire has been agreed by county councillors.

Despite strong opposition, the Local Development Plan (LDP) includes the siting of 400 new homes off the Wonastow Road.

It will now be passed to the Welsh Assembly and its planning inspectors for approval.

The plan was the subject of heated debate at a full council meeting at Caldicot Leisure Centre last Thursday (22nd November).

At the start of the meeting, Councillor Bob Hayward warned the council was not following due process and that any decision should be subject to a legal challenge.

The Dixton with Osbaston ward member said a petition against the Wonastow Road site being included had not been dealt with by the council.

Monmouthshire County Council's (MCC) monitoring officer told the meeting he did not know what had happened to the petition.

There was an opportunity for members of the public to ask questions on the plan, with Michael Jones of Monmouth asking MCC to acknowledge the findings of a 2003 report into the Wonastow Brook Alleviation Scheme.

The report said a pump on the Wonastow brook would have "little influence on flood levels along the upper reaches of Wonastow Road".

Cllr Ruth Edwards said there was "no reason to doubt the validity of the findings" and that "none of the one in 1,000-year fluvial flood prone area is to be developed".

Head of planning George Ashworth said the 'one in 1,000-year flood plain' was a "separate issue" from the surface water flooding which causes problems in the area.

Cllr Bob Greenland, deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: "Until we know exactly where houses are going on the site, neither we nor developers can be expected to work out the amount of run-off from roofs.

"At the planning application stage, developers will have to prove there is not a problem."

AV Matthews asked if the sale of the Wonastow site to a company in the Channel Islands was planning permission-dependent.

Mr Ashworth said: "Ownership and dependency on planning permission have nothing to do with the council.

"The Welsh Government are dealing with it through the normal processes.

"I would hope the development is on the prestige side of things as opposed to Hadnock Road which is, dare I say it, at the other end of the scale," he added.

Cllr Hayward, proposing an ammendment to the plan which would remove the Wonastow Road site, said: "Monmouth town is taking over 20 per cent (800 houses) but has a population of only 10 per cent of the county – twice what it should have.

"This development will not improve the surface water situation and is also unlikely to improve traffic.

"There is a school in Wyesham with empty spaces while the Overmonnow school is full.

"The Wonastow Road has had for 25 years planning approval for the industrial units. Are we now saying it is going to have hi-tech industries wanting to move in?

"There is no provision in the LDP for any recreational land and this should be rectified," he added.

For the full report on this story, see this week's Beacon (28th November).