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DESPITE opposition from the community of Abermule, Powys County Council’s (PCC) own planning application to build nine business units there has been approved.

In November 2020, Powys County Council (PCC) submitted the application to build the nine-unit business park at the edge of Abermule, where a Bulking recycle facility is being built.

They will vary in size from 120 square metres to 500 square metres and will be split into two blocks, one with three units and the other with six.

The application was discussed at a planning meeting on Thursday, February 4.

Powys County Councillor for Dolforwyn, which includes Abermule, Cllr Gareth Pugh (Conservative) spoke against the proposal.

Cllr Pugh said:

“The residents do not believe that it is right or legitimate for a planning application for the nine business units be considered as totally new and separate to the original outline planning consent.”

“It’s making them very frustrated and angry and feels that Powys is not listening.”

Cllr Jane Rees, chairman of Abermule with Llandyssil Community Council, said:

“While our community welcomed the opportunity for local employment and were satisfied when outline planning was granted for six units, this application proposes nine units on only half the site, a substantial change to the layout and scale of the outline consent.

“The development is speculative and there’s no needs assessment that the demand is in the area.”

Louise Evans of PCC spoke as the council’s agent on the application. She said:

“The council are excited to develop this high-quality speculative development to positively contribute to the economy of Powys in line with our aspirations.

“The suggestion that the views of the community have not been listened to, is simply not true.”

Cllr Emily Durrant, (Llangors – Green Party), said:

“I am really concerned about some of the communication in the report about community engagement.

“There is some suggestion that throughout the pandemic there was difficulty responding to this application, I would like to understand how that satisfies statutory requirement?”

Planning officer, Tamsin Law, explained that the application had followed a pre-application consultation, which took place in September and October, where the community were asked for their comments.

Ms Law, said: “They followed the guidelines in the legislation as amended to account for coronavirus.”

“There were 34 comments received.”

She explained that the council had done the “required publicity” including a press release when the application was submitted.

“We received 10 objections based on that and the document are there to review,” said Ms Law

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson, (Meifod – Conservative) said: “I’m always worried when I hear a degree of concern from both the community council and the local member.

“That to me is an indication that something has gone slightly wrong with this.”

Cllr Wilkinson asked whether more than electric car charging points specified in the plans would be placed in the development?

He believed this was important as the sale of combustion engine cars will stop in 2030.

“The provision of three electric charging points would seem completely inadequate,” said Cllr Wilkinson.

Planning officer Tamsin  Law said: “Three are proposed but that doesn’t mean that more can’t be provided in future.”

She explained that under permitted development rights, more charging points could be included and wouldn’t need further planning permission.

Cllr Huw Williams (Ystradgynlais – Labour), said: “I can see no material reason to go against what the officer has presented today and her recommendation, I think we need to test the meeting.”

Cllr Williams proposed recommending approval, and the motion was seconded by Cllr David Price (Independent – Llanafanfawr).

The committee voted 15 in favour, one against and one abstention.

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