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Councillors go against planning officers to green light plans for affordable home

COUNCILLORS went against planning officers’ advice by giving outline plans for an affordable home at a village near Llanfyllin the go-ahead.

Last Thursday, May 20, members of Powys County Council’s planning committee heard the case being made for an affordable home and associated works on land next to a cemetery at Llanfihangel-yn-Ngwynfa.

Local county councillor, Emyr Jones, who called the application made by Eamon Pryce in front of the committee, spoke in favour of it.

Cllr Jones said: “This is a local person with a genuine need to have a home within the settlement he was born and brought up in and he works at the family farm.

“This is a borderline case, and every effort should be made by the committee to support this kind of application, without their support risk of losing genuine local people who are at the heart of the community.”

Planning officer, Rhys Evans, told the committee that he recommended refusing the application as it is the wrong side of the cemetery which he considered to be the village boundary.

He added that Mr Pryce did meet the criteria to be eligible for affordable housing and that there was also a need in the village for this.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, said: “It’s important when we discuss an application like this to understand the local context and nature of the place.”

Cllr Vaughan pointed out that the village is on a hill and that developments for the “last 70 years” had been towards the cemetery.

He also pointed out that an estate of council houses had been built nearby.

Cllr Vaughan, said: “If we’re talking about this as a development in the open countryside as this one, why have all those been allowed in the past this authority or a previous council has developed an estate of houses in the open countryside.”

He pointed that it was “ironic” that the recommendation for this application was refusal, while the previous plans discussed by the committee for holiday chalets near Trelystan in open countryside, had been backed by planners.

Cllr Vaughan added that he was happy to move a recommendation to approve the plans.

Cllr Linda Corfield said: “I think we should encourage limited development in these small rural communities.

“If we don’t, they are going to die or become exclusive enclaves for very wealthy people pricing out the local people who are born and bred and work in these communities.”

She believed the policies could be applied “far too harshly.”

The application was approved, with 15 votes in favour, and one vote against.

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