TREES could have been cut back or felled if 20 affordable bungalows were built in Gorseinon, according to a planning inspector.
Hywel Wyn Jones dismissed an appeal by Coastal Housing Group and V&C Properties for the scheme on land off Heol Pentre Bach.
As well as concerns about trees, Mr Jones said the potential impact of the bungalows on protected species, such as dormice, was not clear from the information provided. He said these issues outweighed the scheme’s contribution to affordable housing.
The development was planned for two fields surrounded by hedgerows at a site which was outside the defined settlement boundary.
But Mr Jones said its location met the requirements of a “housing exception site” because all of the bungalows would have been affordable.
He was concerned, though, that some of the trees were close to the proposed properties.
His decision report said: “Experience has shown that many residents living close to large trees become concerned over their presence for a variety of reasons, such as concerns over future structural damage from roots or from falling limbs, nuisance caused by leaf litter, loss of light to habitable rooms, and overshadowing gardens. This can lead to pressure to fell or significantly cut back trees that are not directly impacted by development.”
The original planning application by V&C Properties and Coastal Housing had led to three letters of objection, plus some “significant concerns” from Natural Resources Wales in relation to European protected species.
Swansea Council’s planning committee rejected the scheme on four grounds, on the advice of planning officers.
When Coastal Housing and V&C Properties appealed the decision, they claimed they had not been given the chance to submit further information, and also said the existing hedgerows – except a small section required for access – would have been enhanced by additional planting.
They claimed through their planning agent that the application had been determined by the council in “an erroneous, unreasonable and hasty manner”, but their appeal was dismissed.