LEGAL advice on how to proceed with an application to protect a piece of land for the community in Waunfawr has been accepted by Ceredigion County Council.
There is potential for the decision on the village green application at Erw Goch to be decided following a public inquiry with the initial advice from a barrister appointed by the council earlier this year presented to full council today (Thursday, October 20).
The council owns the land and objects to the village green proposal – with plans to build houses on land at next to Hafan u Waun that includes Erw Goch field.
There had been 184 submissions in support for the application provided to the council in its role as registration authority from individuals and members of the Friends of Erw Goch.
The site has been designated in the Local Development Plan as an area for housing and Wales and West Housing Association’s hybrid application was discussed in July 2021.
It includes outline planning for a phased residential development on land adjacent to Hafan y Waun, Waunfawr and a full application for the development and associated works including public open space and a new road.
A report to full council states that following review of the application it has been confirmed as “validly made” and it is recommended that it is “appropriate for the evidence to be tested through cross-examination at a public inquiry.”
the robust testing of the evidence is particularly important in this case given that Ceredigion County Council is both decision-maker (in its capacity as Registration Authority) and landowner.
There is a chance to avoid a public inquiry – and the costs involved in that – by dealing with the council’s objection on grounds of “statutory incompatibility” as a preliminary issue and a barrister will start that work using written representations.
Once that has been carried out and the findings report a decision on the village green application can either be taken or a public inquiry will be considered.
Local member Cllr John Roberts said he was “disappointed” there had been no discussions between the council and the community.
“Community resilience has been seriously undermined by not compromising with the community and applicant regarding us of the land,” he said, adding outside advice was a good thing but “it’s not a god idea to use public money to fight the wishes of the public.”
Cllr Paul Hinge raised concerns that the “public perception” was that the council was “far too close” as landowner and decision maker and greater separation was needed, but was told the purpose of the legal advice was to ensure the correct procedure.
It was agreed that legal advice on whether holding a meeting with the applicants was appropriate would also be sought.
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