An action group is warning residents of the potential scale of new housing developments suggested for Monmouth.
David Cummings of the Gateway to Monmouth Action Group has expressed concern about the number of candidate sites for residential and commercial development proposed under the revised local development plan for the period to 2033.
As part of the process of preparing the replacement plan, Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) has invited landowners, developers and the public to submit ‘candidate sites’ for consideration for development, the redevelopment or protection in the Monmouthshire Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP).
Stage 1 of this process consisted of an initial call for candidate sites for a period of 16 weeks from July 30, 2018 to November 19, 2018.
The “second call” for candidate sites ran alongside the RLDP Preferred Strategy consultation from July 5, 2021 to August 31, 2021.
The new Register of candidate sites updates and replaces the register published after the first call for candidate sites.
In 2019, the Beacon reported on 220 candidate sites submitted to MCC from across the county for a range of uses, including residential, employment (industrial and commercial), and recreation.
Mark Hand, then MCC’s head of planning, said any submissions at this stage “were simply to help the council understand what land is available from 2021, the end of the last plan, to 2033”.
In 2012 David worked with then councilor Bob Hayward on the sites of a previous local development plan in discussions with local residents and said it was “important that the residents of Monmouth and our new advisers know the details of the RLDP because certain parts of it can have an impact on their daily life”.
Although it should be emphasized that the register is for informational purposes only and not a consultation document at this time.
66 hectares of land are on offer and with an average house density of 51 per hectare this would make a total of 3,360 houses, although David adds that not all sites would or could be developed, due to a number of factors such as location on flooding. plains or near watercourses.
It includes familiar areas where development can take place within the next 10 years.
JM Farms Ltd has proposed the roundabout site at the end of Dixton Road, formerly owned by Tesco – described as vacant scrubland – for commercial development. There was strong opposition from townspeople when a McDonalds was first suggested, then when more recent demand for a drive-thru Costa Coffee, Marston’s Pub and some retail units in bulk have been proposed.
He saw the first application on the site in September 1989 when the overall permission was granted for a 40-room hotel.
Three potential land uses are now proposed; roadside facilities, employment grounds or retail outlets.
Opposite is a 12 hectare site up to Hereford Road subject to residential use with the potential for 600 new homes.
The Monmouth Housing Association (MHA) has proposed a 3.8 hectare site off Hereford Road for social housing and two sites have been proposed for a new medical practice in Dixton.
Morspan Pension Scheme highlighted the chicken coop site on Rockfield Road.
The Monmouthshire County Council website states that it is important to note that submission of a candidate site and inclusion in the register “should not be construed as a commitment that such sites will be included in the RLDP repository. “.
David added that there were obvious concerns about ‘more homes with the demand this places on local schools, sewage systems and traffic levels.
“Also, environmental issues with habitat loss and increased risk of flooding. These issues will be considered by MCC Development Planning when developers submit detailed plans and by Natural Resources Wales. Of course, quality of life is a principle MCC must follow under the Welfare and Future Generations Act.
“I would recommend that residents familiarize themselves with the locations of candidate sites and proximity to their property. Later, when more details of the proposed sites are available and have been reviewed by the County Council, I would be happy to chair a meeting between the County Council and affected residents. »
These sites can be viewed on the County Council’s website at https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/app/uploads/2022/02/Monmouth.pdf