Tuesday 18 December 2012

News from the Planning Portal - Part Two: Penybanc


The Penybanc application was rejected, partly on the grounds of concerns over the impact on the language it seems. Rejection of an application which has been recommended for acceptance by the officers is a rare event indeed in Carmarthenshire. One of the last occasions this happened was at Waungilwen near Drefach Felindre. On that occasion the officers refused to accept the decision, and eventually got it reversed.

Watch this space. It will also be interesting to see how many of the usual suspects voted in favour of the application.


As reported previously a company domiciled in Guernsey and represented by an agent living in Berkshire would like to expand its existing planning permission for a site just outside Ammanford from 141 houses to 336.

The Planning Committee decided in October that it had better go and take a look at the site, and the application will come back before them today.

Anyone reading the planning officer's report can hardly fail to notice that the plan has attracted almost universal opposition from local people and their representatives, and all of the agencies involved which are not under direct council control have expressed either serious concerns or are in outright opposition to it.

Despite this, the planning officers are recommending acceptance.

The list of concerns and objections is a very long one, but one of the biggest fears concerns the impact on the Welsh language.

The Welsh Language Board (since replaced by the Commissioner) was unusually strong in its criticism of the proposals, and the planning officers have spent a great deal of time and effort on refuting the Board's arguments. In places, the council comes close to accusing the Board of being unprofessional. The Board makes "broad and unfounded" assertions that there is no local need for a development on this scale, the Planning Department fumes.

Fortunately the Board no longer exists, because making what the council considers to be an unfounded or unsubstantiated allegation would suffice to put the Board on the council's blacklist of abusive complainants.

Coming only a week after the Census figures revealed that Carmarthenshire has seen a bigger decline in numbers able to speak Welsh than any other Welsh local authority - and that by quite some margin - it is hard not to conclude that the county council has to shoulder a significant portion of the blame.

Not that any of this will bother the Independent and Labour councillors on the committee who habitually vote as the planning officers have instructed.


Anonymous said...

It would have been good to have more inbreeding in the area, but it seems the Planning Communists are determind to get fresh blood lines into there stock.
Possibly due to the high milk value in and around Carmarthenshire.

Cneifiwr said...

I published the last comment because I believe in free speech, but I hope any other commenters will ignore it.

Anonymous said...

I, too, believe in free speech, otherwise I would take issue against your initial posting.

If Welsh language speakers want to use the language to stop houses being built then, assumedly, gays and black and Muslims and any number of other minorities will be afforded the same right.

Or are you trying to suggest that Welsh speakers should be afforded special rights by virtual of their willingness to speak Welsh?

caebrwyn said...

Have just seen via @VaughanRoderick that the Planning Committee refused the 336 home application on the language issue, not sure if there were any other reasons.

Cneifiwr said...

In a nutshell Anon @12.56, yes. Enshrined in national planning policy is a requirement for local authorities to pay special regard to the language. If a housing development is likely to result in a significant change in the linguistic make-up of a community, it should either be rejected or special mitigation measures put in place. In practice, the policy has not been very effective, and some local authorities have ridden roughshod over it, including you know who.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with gay people or ethnic minorities.

Jac o' the North, said...

Cneifiwr, I think you're making a mistake in giving a platform to those who have nothing to contribute but anti-Welsh bigotry.

My site is now troll-free; for in addition to what I've just said, these people have countless sites to air their prejudices . . . including English daily newspapers. It's hardly as if they're a suppressed minority looking to be heard.

Cneifiwr said...

Thanks Jac. Sometimes it's good to get a reminder that they are out there. But this one's had his/her lot.

Anonymous said...

If that news is right then those much maligned Independent & Labour Councillors voted to reject the planning at Penybanc

Cneifiwr said...

The news is right. Members of the planning committee are not supposed to be subject to a party whip, although they often vote along party lines.

In this case it is clear that opposition to the plan crossed party boundaries. Both local councillors (Plaid and Labour) opposed it.

If only that happened more often.

Anna Mosity said...

The lack of a rugby club selling the land will have helped ;)

lionel said...

Guilty conscience for having done nothing for years to help the language?

Anonymous said...

I think plaid has got it wrong young people in Wales need places to live and work (builders, painters etc ) plus they need food on the table in these times so the langauge should be put on hold for now ,the people that have say in this on the council all have homes etc , there are council houses in my area been empty from july to date so they need to put their houses in order first, , and to build these houses its private money so let them build

johnsouthwales said...

if i remember right, an application on a smaller scale was rejected around the year 1997, ealy 1998 for the same reasons of infrastructure, overloading sewers, schools, woodlands, traffic etc - i do not recall the welsh language being mentioned as a reason at the time.

It does make you think if a smaller application was rejected, why come back with a bigger one.

there was an interesting comment by a protestor in the swg who mentions of course people are going to have live somewhere in the amman valley. Which leaves a question, when they built a few houses (22) on the former penybanc ncb site in penybanc itself in 2005as opposed to this app which is quite some distance from the village itself, the only difference is the land was derelict and the amount of houses built were minimal but looks quite big when passing by. i think the plots were divided up into a combination of semi detached. some were withdrawn because the trunk road agency had concerns where the entrance is on a busy main road. the entrance to the tirychen farm is accessed off a quiter main road just above tirydail, ammanford after passing the college and up the hill on dyffryn road.

was it people power? it was people power in 1997 but they came back with an application that was more thsn twice the size of the original.

penybanc residents didn't have an argument with sewer as welsh water withdrew their complaint. Llandybie council mentioned lack of affordable housing yet penybanc mention there was no need for housing in the current economic climate.

But don't forget that there is extant planning permission granted for the original 141 houses that was granted in 2008, so they may go back to that rather than appealing. or in other words, there maybe not enough money in it for the developer with 141 to make it worth their while