PLANS for the latest housing development on the edge of a village near the M4 in Monmouthshire have been approved.
Councillors had previously approved an outline application for up to 155 homes on two fields either side of Vinegar Hill on the northern edge of Undy, with construction of 72 homes on the western side of the lane, behind Quarry Rise, already under way.
Mommouthshire County Council’s planning committee was asked to approve details for 70 homes on the eastern plot when it met on Tuesday, April 4, with the principle of developing the land already accepted. Planning officers said the total of 142 is within the limit previously agreed.
At the meeting planning agent Kate Coventry, on behalf of applicants Vistry Homes, said the development is supported by grant funding from the Cardiff Capital Region, which is made up of councils in south east Wales, which meant the developers can deliver 25 per cent affordable housing.
Dewstow councillor Tony Easson said he was disappointed at the overall number of affordable homes, which will be just 18 of the 70 on the site approved at the meeting.
The Labour councillor said: “Of these two sites it’s barely 35 that are affordable housing and they won’t be the four bed homes.”
He also said the affordable homes, which will be spread between open market housing, are all on the northern part of the site “against the motorway”.
Chief planner Craig O’Connor said there will be a field between the homes and the motorway and it was confirmed one four-bedroom home will be affordable.
The other affordable homes will include eight one–bedroom maisonettes, six two-bedroom houses and three three-bedroom houses.
The open market homes, which will include a two-and-a-half-storey block of flats, will be a mix of one, two, three and four-bedroom properties.
Caldicot Labour councillor Jill Bond was reminded that a requirement for 50 per cent affordable housing is a proposal for the council’s new planning policy, which is currently being developed, and the 25 per cent met the existing policy for the Severnside area.
She said she regretted solar panels hadn’t been included in the plans, but accepted insultation standards had been met. But she was also concerned environmentally as there is no provision of a corner shop in the estate.
She said: “It is a missed opportunity for a corner shop. All these estates are a long way from a shop, you’ve got to walk a significant way down a hill.”
Planning officer Philip Thomas said it is possible to walk to the centre of nearby Magor within 10 to 15 minutes and Mr O’Connor said, while a future policy could be developed, he felt a “town centre first” approach should continue to be followed.
Magor East with Undy councillor Angela Sandles outlined the history of opposition since the potential development became apparent in 2013.
The Labour cabinet member, who isn’t on the planning committee, said she had started a Facebook group ten years ago where people shared their opposition to the plans, and photographs of the fields she described as containing “flora and fauna” and where “there was always a rabbit and a fox”.
But she said despite the discovery of evidence of Iron Age roundhouses and Roman baths in the fields the permission for the first site was granted in 2021.
The committee was also told the development can eventually form part of a new east-west link road which will connect with a further housing site at Rockfield Farm, to the east, and potential employment land.
Though no bus service is currently in place, the road has been designed so that it can accommodate a route and the application is described as having “significant green infrastructure”, in part to deal with surface water drainage, including new trees and hedgerows.
In response to a question from Wyesham independent councillor Emma Bryn Mr O’Connor confirmed at 26 dwellings per hectare the density is below the council’s standard requirement of 30 but said that “emphasis the amount of green infrastructure.”
Cllr Bryn also said the developers had submitted information stating the plans met Wales’ Future Generations policy goals but said she couldn’t see any that promoted the use of the Welsh language.
She suggested Welsh street names could encourage “the use of our native language” and Mr O’Connor said that could be considered when names are considered.
The application, which also includes a pumping station to serve the estate, was approved.