NEW ‘village’ in Gwent could be given the go-ahead when councillors meet to discuss plans for up to 900 new homes on an industrial site.
The development at Mamhilad, would also include a new primary school with space for 315 pupils and adaptations, including part demolition, of the former Nylon Spinners factory, a Grade II star listed building.
Planning permission was originally approved for the site which is next to A4042 road, by Torfaen Borough Council in July, 2020 subject to legal agreements which were slow to progress due to the Covid pandemic.
Revised plans were then submitted by applicants Johnsey Estates in July last year which councillors are now being recommended to approve when they meet at Pontypool Civic Centre on Thursday, May 25 at 2pm.
As well as new housing the plans would include a “neighbourhood centre” of shops and community buildings, walking and cycling routes, a grass sports pitch and outdoor gym trail, there would also be provision of a bus service through the site which would link with Cwmbran and Pontypool town centres and the New Inn railway station. Legal agreements will ensure the developer funds the proposals.
The creation of a new “urban village”, of up to 1,700 homes in the wider Mamhilad Strategic Area ,was approved in Torfaen Borough Council’s development plan and a report for the planning committee says councillors must consider if the application, which is for only part of the area, meets those aims.
The recommendation from officers is that though the proposals fall short on the number of affordable houses, and as yet other parts of the area haven’t come forward for development, it should be approved.
The report states: “Given that the current scheme would secure a good mix of dwellings, employment uses, community facilities, school and infrastructure, it is considered that overall the proposal would achieve a level and balance of uses which would secure a sustainable settlement at this site generally consistent with the requirements (of the development plan policy).”
Though permission is being sought for up to 900 houses the current plans are for 824 homes with 124 being affordable, which is 15 per cent of the total thought that is 10 per cent below what is normally required by the council.
The report says this is acceptable “to allow for the provision of other facilities, such as the school, which are considered to be essential to the sustainability of the site and protect the viability of the development.”
The cost of providing the school, in 2020, was estimated at £6 million but that has risen to £7.6m and the council has warned this could still be an “underestimate”.
To reduce the risk of the increased school costs threatening the viability of the development, or the developer being unable to meet other promised community benefits, the council is proposing that it be a condition construction starts when the 150th house is occupied and it is completed by the occupation of 225 units.
Work to the value of around £800,000 will also be required to the former Nylon Spinners factory, which will remain in employment use, though parts will also be for community use and any demolition of its more modern extensions would require work to bring other parts of the building back into use.
It is also proposed that an earlier plan for a new roundabout on the A4042 at the site entrance is replaced with traffic lights, which is acceptable to the Welsh Government which has responsibility for trunk roads.
If councillors approve the outline application further design details will have to be agreed by the planning department.