Village houses plan approved

Permission has been given to build five affordable homes on the outskirts of a village, as it was thought that rejecting it would be too difficult to defend on appeal.

The outline planning application had been made to build the houses at land near Uchel Dre, Common Road, Kerry, in Mid Wales.

On Thursday Powys County Council’s (PCC) planning committee looked at the application which has raised a huge amount of concern in the village.

This is because many residents feel that the access to the A489, from Common Road is dangerous.

Councillor Kath Roberts-Jones said: “There are a large number of objections including from the community council that show the strength of feeling about this proposal.

“Some of the main objections has been about highways safety and to me this is paramount.

“I have worked long and hard for safer routes to school and if this is given permission that will go out the window.

Councillor Roberts-Jones explained that there was access from the road to St Michael’s Primary School and that it is used by parents and minibuses dropping off children there.

She added that there was “no lack” of affordable homes in the village as there are already 62 homes being built elsewhere.

A bigger scheme for 16/17 homes had been left out of the Local Development Plan (LDP) but the application for five affordable homes had changed planners’ minds.

Councillor Roger Williams said: “The landowner is offering a reduction of speed limit to 20mph and a weight reduction, but surely that would be subject to consultation?

“It’s not up to a any landowner to offer up any restrictions.”

Councillor Williams added that the applicant had suggested that members of his family could benefit from the affordable homes.

He asked: “Does this fulfil the principle of affordable housing?”

Principal planning officer, Gemma Bufton said that the family members had been given as “examples” but there was also “proven need” for affordable homes in Kerry which is classed as a “large village.”

Ms Bufton confirmed that the changes to road speed limit and weight restriction would need to go through a consultation process.

Councillor Williams added: “I realise this is a contentious issue, the fact is if we refuse this it would be on the basis of highway concerns. How would we be able to defend such a decision at appeal?

PCC, highways network manager, Alastair Knox said: “We would probably struggle to defend it at appeal given the fact that it’s five dwellings on a road that’s already accommodating 130 properties, plus other through traffic as well.

The application was voted through with one abstention.

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