AN octogenarian councillor has slammed neighbours who objected to a house being used for supported living for five elderly women. 

Conservative councillor Maureen Powell hit out at a community councillor and a local resident, who claimed to be speaking “on behalf of the community”, saying she couldn’t see what the problem was with the women, who have learning difficulties, moving into the house in Jasper Tudor Crescent, Llanfoist after they’d lived together in another part of town for more than 20 years. 

Pobl Group housing association which has bought the six-bedroom house in Jasper Tudor Cresent, Llanfoist applied to MCC for a certificate to confirm it would remain as a dwelling house, but with support for up to six people living together rather than classing it as a care home for which change of use planning permission would be required.

Such applications are routinely considered by planning officers but objections from 23 homes and Llanfoist Fawr Community Council forced the application before the planning committee. 

Abergavenny Pen y Fal councillor Maureen Powell made it clear she had little time for objections from residents who suggested the use would “devalue” other homes, look “unsightly” and cause access issues for emergency services. 

Concerns were also raised that the make up of the household could change over time, though the committee was told only one new service user had joined the group in the past five years. 

Cllr Powell told the committee: “You can have a family of six, parents and four children, living in a house like this and things can change over time. 

“These people have lived together as a family, and no doubt get on together just as well – probably better – than a natural family, I can’t see this is a problem at all. 

“I don’t know why people should mind that it’s five people living in a house any more than a family living in a house? It seems to be to me people are looking for difficulties. 

“I hope that I don’t have to go into any sort of care, I’m 86 now and I hope I can carry on the same as I am now but nobody knows what the future holds and those five people have lived together as a family for that length of time so I’m sure they are perfectly able to live together as a family there. 

“I can’t see what problem it is to the neighbours? Are they going to have big wild dances or something? I just don’t see where their objections are coming from. I think it’s a very good idea and there should be more places like it.” 

Labour councillor for Cantref, Sarah Burch added it would be “entirely wrong”  to make a judgement on care needs.

The application to grant the certificate was unanimously approved in line with the officers’ recommendation.

Planner Amy Longford said a case involving North Devon council resulted in a judge deciding change of use planning application for a similar property was required as it involved children as they can’t form a household on their own.

Ms Langford said the council was satisfied the group in Abergavenny does form a single household and their 24 hour support, with one member of staff on a rota basis, is present to assist them living independently. 

Gareth Jones, of Llanfoist Fawr Community Council, said it objected to the application and Tom Wyatt, who said he was addressing the committee “on behalf of the community”, insisted the house should be considered a “residential institution”. 

Labour Cllr Tony Eason said he objected to comments, submitted in writing from the public, suggesting there was a potential risk to children.