BLAENAU Gwent planners have advised councillors to refuse an application that legally recognises an extension to a traveller’s site at Blaina.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Planning committee on Thursday, September 6, councillors will discuss a retrospective planning application for five extra pitches, at Glyn Milwr, Stone Houses, Blaina.
The application also includes hardstanding, parking, toilet, fencing and extension to the access drive.
The plans were submitted following a complaint that commercial vehicles were seen at the site.
The started an investigation which brought enforcement action against the residents.
Planning officer Joanne White said: “Prior to occupation of the site in 2021, the site was undeveloped.
“The adjacent approved travellers’ site which has permission for three static
caravans, four touring caravans, associated hardstanding, outbuildings,
drainage, access and boundary treatments was allowed on appeal in January
“There is access to water and electricity connections and foul drainage is to be
provided to an existing septic tank.
“As part of the application the agent has submitted a plan indicating provision
for five distinctive pitches within the extended land: two the north of the site, one to the west and two to the south.
“The agent has confirmed that each pitch would accommodate one static caravan, one tourer, plus parking.”
If approved this would see the site have a total of nine pitches for eight static caravans, nine tourers and parking.
Local authorities in Wales have a legal duty to provide sites for Travellers.
The most recent Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTTA) identifies a need for an extra nine pitches in Blaenau Gwent and that this development would go towards this.
Ms White said: “The families currently occupying the extended site, which forms this application, have been there since approximately 2021 due to being made homeless from their previous home.
“The children of the families attend local schools.”
But. 11 letters of objection on a number of issues, including road safety issues have been lodged against the application.
Ms White said: “Given the highway implications the number of caravans approved on the existing site was restricted by the planning inspector.
“The highways manager fundamentally objects to the application given that the increase in additional daily movements and the associated impact on the sub-standard access track would be significantly more than previously
“The absence of a pedestrian footpath and street lighting poses a risk to pedestrian safety on a track that is widely used by the public.
“Given the number of caravans, parking provision associated outbuildings required for the development would result in a cramped form of development that raises concern for fire safety and would have a detrimental impact upon the amenity of the occupiers of the site.
“I therefore recommend that the application is refused on highway safety
grounds, scale and impact upon amenity.”
If councillors approve the application a further sustainable drainage application (SuDS) will also need to be approved.