CONSTRUCTION could start on 70 new houses within two years after plans for a residential development west of Rockfield Road were approved.
The contentious outline application was passed by Monmouthshire County Council’s (MCC) planning committee on Tuesday 5th September despite being located outside of the town development boundary for Monmouth.
The application was mainly recommended by planners because of the council’s lack of land supply.
MCC’s head of planning Mark Hand said: “The sole reason it is on there with a recommendation for approval is because of our five year housing land supply requirement.”
He noted the county had fallen to a four year housing land supply and previous appeals had shown the land supply issue would outweigh the development’s location outside of the Local Development Plan (LDP).
He added the county looks at land supply on a county wide basis, not just town by town.
It is this point that seemed to sway the 12 councillors who voted to approve the application, plus the 25 affordable houses which will be part of the development.
The support was in contrast to the one councillor who voted against and the recommendation of refusal from Monmouth Town Council.
The town council cited excessive pressure on infrastructure and schools, the over-development of the site, pressure on road system in their decision.
Also raised was the approved application’s connection to an existing application for 130 houses on the same site which was submitted in July 2016.
Welsh Water assessments regarding foul drainage were required for 60 of the 130 dwellings, so the developer submitted a second application for 70 houses in May 2017 to fast-track the development.
It was this second application which has been approved.
However, Mr Hand said the other 60 houses would be part of a separate application and the approving the 70 houses would not prejudice the council for any future decisions.
The councillor for the ward which the development sits on, Mat Feakins, welcomed the addition of affordable housing.
He said: “We need affordable housing in Monmouth, there is no doubt about that, and this is a chance to get 25 units. I’ve got friends moving out of Monmouth because they can’t afford rent.”
He also highlighted the need for better footpaths for the development, pedestrian crossing on Rockfield Road and an archaeological survey.
The approved application also included provisions for a £109,620 contribution to improvement of off-site play provision in Rockfield, the inclusion of a community orchard and a £10,000 contribution for management, habitat creation and landscape planting to complement proposed improvements to the centralised play facility.
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