A DEVELOPER wants to ‘de-register’ common land to help deliver 58 affordable homes on the edge of Gower.
Edenstone Group, along with Swansea Council’s highways department, has applied to the Welsh Government to replace the land at Clyne Common with a larger plot of land comprising two fields at nearby Bishopston.
The Clyne Common site is flanked by Chestnut Avenue to the south, with Mulberry Avenue to the east, but is just outside the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In its application to the planning inspectorate, Edenstone Group – on behalf of landowner the Somerset Trust – said Swansea had a shortfall in affordable housing and that the development of the land in partnership with Coastal Housing as 100% affordable housing would help address this.
The Gower Commoners Association is not objecting.
Natural Resources Wales said it wanted the existing “wet heath” at Clyne Common replaced with a wet heath habitat on the replacement land, and to ensure open access at the replacement site.
Access to the 58 properties would be off Chestnut Avenue. An orchard, allotment and two play areas are also proposed. A public footpath would be diverted.
To date, there have been 60 objections to the planning application to the council, and two letters of support.
Daniel Roberts, of Uplands, said: “I believe it will be detrimental to local wildlife and set a dangerous precedent with regards to the development of large areas of the common, irrespective of how the land is currently used.”
Margot Morgan, of Brynmill, said: “We cannot afford to degrade our common land as we are failing to preserve the environment for birds, small mammals and insects whose populations are failing.”
West Cross councillor Mark Child said affordable social housing was badly needed.
“I became a councillor in West Cross in 1999, and I can safely say that the lack of affordable social housing has been the single biggest issue I have had to deal with from constituents,” he said.
This was echoed by Edenstone and Coastal Housing.
Edenstone Group land director Richard Kelso said homes for social rent were in particularly short supply.
He added: “Under the plans, the common would ultimately increase in size as the land we plan to develop at Chestnut Avenue is 6.4 acres and would be replaced with 8.5 acres of land at Bishopston.”
Mr Kelso also said the 58 properties would remain as affordable homes in perpetuity.
Coastal Housing executive director of growth and new business, Gareth Davies, said: “Our aim is to create a mix of inter-generational homes for people at different stages of their lives, from those just starting out in their first home to those keen to continue living independently in a property that meets their specific needs.”