Agenda item

DM/2021/00357 Provision of 120 dwellings on parcels B and C2 - Rockfield Farm, Undy, Monmouthshire, NP26 3EL


County Councillor Tony Easson declared a non-prejudicial interest as Chair of Licensing and Regulatory Committee in respect of the footpath extinguishment and realignment and may be consulted upon.


We considered the report of the application and late correspondence received which were recommended for approval subject to the conditions outlined in the report, and to defer the matter to delegated panel to resolve the issues of how to overcome the adoption of the highway.


The Local Member for Magor East with Undy, also Planning Committee Member outlined the following points:


·         Highways refers to the impact of the existing public highway boundaries of Silurian Road and Elms Road where there are unresolved issues of property boundaries and parking issues

·         How will access/egress to the site be managed.

·         Lack of infrastructure

·         The developers have chosen to retain the public highway with appropriate demarcation and to provide segregation between the plots. This needs to be resolved.

·         There are concerns over the proposed proximity of plot 64 where there is a significant swathe of public Highway between the footway and the front of the dwelling. It is likely that the public Highway will be incorporated within the plot boundary. The plot layout could be changed or the applicant apply to extinguish the public Highway outside all plots.


The Senior Development Management Officer responded:


·         The extinguishment is acknowledged, and it is noted that the public Highway runs along the front boundary of the plots. The main concern is plot 64 which has the largest expanse of adopted Highway within the front garden.

·         The key issue is to ensure there is no housing or built form within the Highway location; which there is not.

·         Highways has no objection to the extinguishment of the highway. We seek to take the means of resolving the highways issue to delegated panel.

·         In terms of access, this would be via the B4245 and through the new development. This allocation forms part of a wider plan

potentially linking to developments that have been approved on Vinegar Hill and to Grange Road. This will be considered later.


The Local Member for Magor East with Undy continued:


·         There are unresolved issues e.g. the objection from the bio-diversity officer on at least eight points of concern. For example, there is no explanation how lost hedgerows will be replaced, nor how adequate provision for bats and birds made.  It was responded that the most recent comments from the ecologist have removed the objection being satisfied with the proposed enhancements. A length of hedgerow was previously damaged through no fault of the applicant, but they have compensated with replanting of hedgerows throughout the site.  Hedgerows and native hedgerow planting are proposed around the sink.

·         The objection from public rights of way states that concerns can be addressed through the imposition of the condition in the report but there are other concerns.  The applicant fails to acknowledge Public footpath 372/23 and the plan should be resubmitted including detail of the public right-of-way crossing and adjoining the site and should identify adverse impacts.  It was responded that there is a public footpath that runs through the site.  Due to its current alignment it would make development of this site almost impossible as it would take out a significant portion of the developable land.  The applicants are aware that they need to apply to realign the footpath. It is proposed to run from the public open space in the southwest through the site through the central pedestrianised link and then would meet Silurian Road. 

·         A concern is how to ensure that that footpath is always open and free to use by the public as stipulated.  The Head of Planning explained that it’s the same with any construction sites with regards to footpaths. They may get temporarily diverted or protected by barriers to maintain access during construction.

·         The eleven comments concerning landscaping were raised.  It was responded that amended plans overcome the issues raised since the holding objection was received. Referring to the front of plot 64, planting is not allowed within the highway.  There is a lot of on-street tree planting mitigating for the loss of the hedgerows.

·         Accessibility to seating areas. It was responded that in the public area of open space in the south west there are three seating areas.  The landscape officer asked for them to be multi-purpose. Seating areas providing access to those   less Mobile would require paths which would erode open space. To resolve this there is additional seating areas throughout the site that are DDA compliant.

·         The traffic management scheme is required before work commences.   It was responded that condition 8 states that prior to any works commencing that a construction management plan would be received.  The Head of Planning addressed the concerns stating that significant meetings took place with green infrastructure, landscape and highways colleagues.  There are inevitable compromises across the site to balance all the different issues.  This scheme has higher than average affordable housing provision and tree-lined streets.  There is fully a sustainable drainage system, attenuation ponds and a protected SINC.  There is a protected woodland area in the middle that is being further enhanced with additional hedgerow and planting.



Having considered the report of the application, the following points were noted:


·         It was questioned how the houses are heated and why solar panels are not installed on all the buildings.

·         Regarding the proposed road names, it was suggested not to use variations of the same name (“Rockfield”) to avoid confusion.


The Senior Development Management Officer responded:


·         Heating of the buildings and solar panels are building control matters and not within the remit of the planning committee but may be considered in the revised local development plan.

·         Street naming is not the remit of the Planning Committee but the comments can be passed to the relevant department.

·         Houses are needed in the county and the necessary infrastructure for the people who will live in all the new housing developments was identified in the adopted LDP and financial contributions secured via a s106 agreement relating to the earlier outline permission for this site.   


The Senior Development Management Officer responded:


·         The required 25% affordable housing has been exceeded. 

·         Accessibility of the site was explored during the allocation when the local development plan was being adopted and it was decided that this was a sustainable location that had access to facilities within the vicinity. Additionally, the outline consent was subject to a S106 that provided financial contributions for e.g. play, and improvements to the highway network.  New residents will use facilities e.g. provide support for local shops, pubs, and businesses.


Continuing consideration of the report of the application, the following points were noted:


·         Long-term upkeep of the hedges and trees is a concern.  It was responded that the intention is that the public right of way be adopted by the council that would take on responsibility.

·         Solar PV panels, air source heat pumps and electric charge points should be installed, and this message should be fed back to the developers.   The Head of Planning applauded this thought but explained it is not embedded in national planning policy. However, the officer has negotiated 84% electric charging infrastructure and the developer is delivering that as part of the scheme so the Energy Efficiency of these buildings will be to a high standard.

·         It was queried if the developers could approach purchasers to see if they would be interested in installing heat pumps.

·         It was requested that there are no issues with adopting the roads referring to the delays at Kingswood Gate, Monmouth.

·         Sports facilities should be considered and an Active Travel Plan. It was commented that there are lots of sports facilities local to the site.  

·         Considering Active Travel, provisions for future bus routes and wide pavements are encouraging for walking. It would be good to see some safe dedicated cycle routes in the design maybe as a shared pavement.

·         The types of houses on the site will naturally house families so it is good to see links to the neighbouring park. 

·         The traffic management plan for the construction must be adhered to.



It was confirmed that the roads have been designed to be of adoptable standard but adoption can be subject to delay.  To deliver the required number of dwellings, there was no land available for sports facilities. There is the area of open space that is proposed to be used for informal play and a financial contribution was secured through the section 106 agreement.  Active Travel was not considered as part of the wider plan for this site.   To address this element, several footpath links have been designed with pedestrian permeability in mind also links to the existing Road network and infrastructure.


The Head of Planning had received a message from Monmouthshire Housing that all units will be off gas, EPCA rated and all will have PV panels.


Summing up, the Local Member for Magor East with Undy was pleased many of his concerns had been considered.  He still took issue with the infrastructure on behalf of the residents and area. He supported the application.


It was proposed by County Councillor J. Crook and seconded by County Councillor A. Easson that application DM/2021/00357 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report.



Upon being put to the vote the following votes were recorded:


For approval                - 13

Against approval         - 1

Abstentions                 - 0


The proposition was carried.


We resolved that application DM/2021/00357 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report and subject to referral to the Council’s Delegated Panel to clarify i) resolution of the extinguishment of the highway on Silurian Road and 1m wide service strip on east-west access road.


Supporting documents: