Agenda and minutes

Place Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 28th September, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: The Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA with remote attendance


No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Emma Bryn declared a non-prejudicial interest (has previously completed a form.)


Public Open Forum


A number of residents spoke, raising the following concerns:


  • Suggesting that new housing being weighted heavily to Severnside conflicts with the aspiration to retain Monmouthshire’s green spaces, especially given the Gwent levels


  • Arguing that Magor will be seen as part of an urban corridor between Newport and Chepstow, threatening its rural status, and noting the existing shortage of green spaces for residents


  • Suggesting that there be a more even spread of houses between Monmouth and Abergavenny


  • Questioning whether it is sustainable for Severnside to have 21% of the county’s population, with 1 out of 3 new homes set to be built there


  • Stressing the deficit of open space in Magor and Undy, and that it has been overdeveloped for years, with untreated water already being allowed to flow into the SSSI and some homes already being victims of flooding


  • Suggesting that being ‘protection-led’ rather than ‘development-led’ would be more in keeping with an environmentally focussed RLDP
  • Noting the shortage of amenity areas around Langley Close, with a 2008 report already highlighting a deficiency of 14.4 acres of outdoor provision at that time


  • Stressing the importance of retaining farmland and supporting communities e.g. the family who would be evicted from farming at Langley Close, and questioning putting development before the health of a community


  • Highlighting that a previous council report stated that no development would take place on open land near or close to a motorway, yet this plan proposes to do so


  • Stressing the importance of preserving the Gwent Levels and its unique landscape, expressing concern for wildlife, and arguing that the council’s own Green Strategy is being ignored, particularly relating to the Green Infrastructure potential at Magor and Undy


  • Noting that this plan contravenes Future Wales Policy 9, relating to biodiversity


  • Arguing that previous Rockfield farm and Vinegar Hill developments were predicated on the relief road and Magor-Undy bypass going ahead, but were allowed to proceed and expand, and suggesting that there has not been enough collaboration with Newport Council over the impact of their developments given the joint implications for thousands more vehicles needing to access the M4 at Junction 23A


  • Suggesting that there is not sufficient evidence to state that higher levels of growth will not affect the road network, and that building thousands of homes without the necessary infrastructure being in place first is not responsible


  • Asking for Air and Noise Pollution Assessments for Magor and Undy, given that there is already an air quality problem from the M4 and B4245 traffic jams


  • Reiterating infrastructure concerns, particularly regarding insufficient healthcare, shopping and leisure provisions in Caldicot, with residents from the new developments likely to travel elsewhere, and highlighting again the strain on the road network and lack of decent public transport


  • Expressing concerns about flooding being exacerbated by further runoff from more developments, and the impact on air quality and biodiversity
  • Proposing that social housing be built where it is needed, rather than concentrated in one place


·         Expressing opposition to Monmouth being allocated a 230% housing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Replacement Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy - To scrutinise the RLDP Preferred Strategy, including any proposed changes arising from the public consultation pdf icon PDF 523 KB

Additional documents:


Mark Hand introduced the report, Craig O’Connor delivered a presentation, and they answered the members’ questions.


Key points raised by the Committee Members and other Councillors:


  • Clarifying that there will be an easy-to-read version of the report for residents with dyslexia


  • Asking if there are plans to allocate land for self-builds and whether consideration could be given to opening up MCC farmland and offering plots for rent


  • Asking how Monmouth qualifies as a sustainable development considering its lack of public transport links


  • Asking how further housing in Monmouth can be justified given the impact this will have on the A40 trunk road, which is already at capacity, and with residents having no option other than private car trips


  • Challenging the notion that the bus services in Monmouth can be used to access work in Newport, Hereford or Gloucester as services are neither frequent nor reliable


  • Asking if it is known how robust the phosphate removal will be in the improvements set to be made to the Waste Water treatment works, and whether the drainage networks will be able to cope with the additional capacity


  • Asking how the Mounton Road site was selected over Bayfield, given the 72% best and most versatile agricultural land is there – should we not be developing around this natural resource that is in short supply


  • Asking what the plans are to react to the increased traffic as a result of building an extra 270 houses in Monmouth, and where the extra children will go to school given that Osbaston primary is already at full capacity – asking whether new infrastructure will need to be built


  • Noting that landscape in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty needs to be duly considered


  • Seeking confirmation that there are no more brownfield sites that can be built on


  • Reiterating the concern over the reliability and frequency of bus services


  • Questioning whether we should go to the level of 5,400 new homes given the issues of climate and phosphates


  • Asking whether the mitigation of phosphates by treatment works will be sufficient to take on more growth


  • Noting the need to have jobs to match housing


  • Asking whether minibuses could be provided for transportation to Overmonnow and Wyesham schools to alleviate the likely congestion caused by parents driving to school on rainy days


  • Questioning whether the plan can be supported without a bypass for Chepstow and active travel measures, particularly as these were the concerns when the committee scrutinised the Forest of Dean’s plan


  • Highlighting infrastructure concerns: Welsh Government recommends considering adjoining local authorities; in Chepstow’s case, this should include the houses being built in the Forest of Dean area and the traffic that would come into Chepstow from there


  • Strongly challenging the consideration of Severnside, Caldicot and Chepstow as separate areas, especially given the traffic impacts amongst them


  • Challenging the Mounton Road site being considered as an area for development given its proximity to Highbeech roundabout and that the council passed a motion to support studies for improvements to that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Place Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 381 KB


The members’ attention was drawn to the possibility of School Meals Procurement coming to the committee in December or March, the EV Charging Strategy having been added to 11th January, and the Workshop on 10th October still going ahead.


Cabinet and Council Work Planner pdf icon PDF 329 KB


To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 263 KB


The minutes were confirmed, proposed by Councillor Strong and seconded by Councillor Bryn.


Next Meeting


Thursday 9th November 2023 at 10.00am.