Houses are approved but cul-de-sac residents say they have been ‘sold down the river’

- Planning

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Plans for 127 homes on the site of the old Bryn Castell School in Bridgend have been approved.

The Persimmon Homes development comprises a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes in Llangewydd Road.

Instead of providing any affordable homes on the site, the developer is paying £1.4m as part of a Section 106 agreement towards meeting the affordable housing need in the area.

The development raised a number of concerns from local residents over traffic management, with hundreds of extra car movements on a daily basis.

There were also serious safety concerns from the residents living next door to the new development.

Four homes in Llangewydd Road are currently in a cul-de-sac which is being opened up to provide an entrance into the development.

While a pavement will be placed on one side of their road, residents will have no pavement on the side of their homes.

Instead a lay-by is being created on the side of the four properties for three vehicles.

One mum of two told councillors at a Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) planning meeting she has been so worried about the safety of her children as a result of the lack of pavement she has been getting nightmares – and has applied for vehicle access to her property.

Jessica Hemming is now facing having to pay out thousands of pounds in order to put the driveway in front of her house and a dropped kerb.

She said: “Without a doubt we need a pavement on both sides of the road, not only for us as residents but also for the children and families who walk to school this way, both to Cefn Glas Infants and Bryntirion Comprehensive.

“I understand that my neighbours have also applied for vehicle access – it is unfair that we have to find the funds to install not only an expensive drop curb but a driveway to our property as a result of this development.

“I fear that this new access road is an accident waiting to happen and only when it does will things change.”

At the meeting, Cllr John Spanswick said it seemed like the four houses “were being sold down the river” for the benefit of Persimmon.

He said: “There’s going to be hundreds of cars whizzing past, there’s no safe way to cross that road.”

And Cllr Nicole Burnett said she didn’t see why the four homeowners should be punished for the new housing development being built next door.

Planning officers said the homes were outside of the site development and highways officers had no objections.

However, at one point in the development control committee on Thursday, August 1, the meeting was suspended to enable the developer and council officers to see if they could come to an arrangement to help the four homes by providing a pavement.

Following the break, planning officers said they would explore with the developer an option of moving the entrance slightly so it would go into a council-owned verge, which would then create enough space for a pavement in addition to the lay-by outside the four properties.

Planning officers described the situation of pausing the meeting to allow for the discussion as “highly unusual”.

Ward councillor David White said it was testament to “people power”.

And Cllr Matthew Voisey, who had requested the pause to see if a solution could be found, said it showed the council cared for the “small minorities”.

Councillors also raised concerns over the schools in the area which are already “oversubscribed and overcrowded”.

Persimmon is providing £540,000 towards the provision of secondary school and post-16 places serving the development.

Councillors approved the plans subject to conditions by nine votes to three.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr White said: “I very much welcome the decision of the planning committee.

“Not only is this a victory for common sense, it is also an achievement for a small group of neighbours, coming together and fighting for what was right.

“I would like to thank the councillors on the planning committee, officers and Persimmon Homes for listening to their argument and working together to find a way forward that will result in those who use the pavement being safer.”

Liz Bradfield

Local democracy reporter

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