Question from: County Councillor Karen Laurie-Parry Subject: Former Bronllys CP School Site - Housing Development
1. Leader, Cllr Rosemarie, please could you reaffirm that which has always been said by Cabinet, Lead Officers and Director to the Bronllys Ward Independent County Councillor, Bronllys Community Council, residents and Bronllys Village Interest Groups:
- that the Housing Proposal for the whole area of the Former Bronllys CP School site, is proposed to be developed for County Council Housing as part of the Welsh Government Funding for 250 County Council Houses to be built across Powys.
- the Director having confirmed that the Housing Services Public Consultation Event and Survey in 2018, regarding the Housing Development for the Bronllys CP School Site, identified the need for 19 Powys County Council Houses to be rented out.
- the remaining Housing Plots on the Former CP School Site, to be Housing Association Houses to rent out.
OR is it now the case that it is proposed to be:
- all Private Housing or Mixed Ownership. If Mixed, please can you provide the Breakdown?
Response by the Leader:
HOUSING PROPOSAL FOR FORMER BRONLLYS CP SCHOOL SITE
The whole of the former Bronllys CP School site will be used for the development of Council Houses and to provide an open green space for the community. Originally it was proposed that 19 council houses could be built on the site at the same time as providing a green space for community use. However, the number of council houses proposed has decreased from 19 to 17 due (i) the identified need to provide 2 adapted bungalows ; (ii) the fact that the Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) requirement has “sterilised” a larger proportion of the site than was originally envisaged, (iii) the routes required to maintain the public rights of way ; and (iv) the community need for an open green space. All 17 properties will be Council Houses.
You question appears to confuse the proposals of the Powys Housing service with land to the south of the school owned by Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) on which they have obtained outline planning permission. It was initially suggested that whilst fully complying with procurement rules, Powys could collaborate with the adjoining MHA development in terms of sharing infrastructure and taking a holistic approach to the projects that would potentially benefit the community. However, due to the complexity and timing of combining these projects, this has not been possible and has not been pursued further.
MHA have outline planning permission for the erection of 30 dwellings for a residential development and related infrastructure. The permission was subject to a S106 agreement which requires an affordable housing scheme to be submitted prior to commencement of development.
Open Green Space to be included on the proposed housing development on the former Bronllys CP School site.
2. Open Green Space to be included on the proposed housing development on the former Bronllys CP School site.
Leader, as you are aware there has been discussions at meetings held regarding the Housing Proposals and Open Green Space on the Former Bronllys CP School Site, one of which you respectively called, regarding the Application made for a Village Green, to secure the Open Green Space, I am informed by residents, used and enjoyed for the last 50 years or so.
At the last meeting, the County Solicitor & Monitoring Officer plus one Cabinet Portfolio Holder, lead the discussion and verbally offered, a Long-Term Lease Agreement for the Open Green Space, as an alternative to the Village Green Application, which it was said in the meeting, would reduce the administration processing time element required of a Village Green Application and reduce costs to Powys County Council.
However, again no written documented minutes or written notes to follow, neither the written Offer of the Open Green Space Lease Agreement to Bronllys Community Council. Same standard of no records being applied, as in other County Council meetings.
Leader, please can you clarify why, at a meeting you called to meet the Bronllys Ward County Councillor and only one member of Bronllys Community Council, was there no written details to follow, notably, the written offer of a Lease Agreement, minutes or notes for all present. Please, at this meeting you called, there were also present the County Solicitor & Monitoring Officer, two lead Officers from Housing Services, an Officer from Valuation Department, the then Lead Planning Officer plus yourself Leader and your 2 Cabinet Portfolio Holders. Therefore 8 officials present plus the Ward County Councillor and Bronllys Community Councillor. Ten people present in a meeting called by yourself and held in County Hall and yet “No Recorded Minutes, Notes or follow-on written offer of the Long Term Lease Agreement to Bronllys Community Council, as discussed in this Official Powys County Council Meeting called by the Leader.
Having been a former Local Government Officer and now, in my first term of office as a County Councillor, I believe that this level of standard of administration needs to be questioned, as to why, and for the Bronllys Ward Independent County Councillor, is most definitely not acceptable. This, I believe is not the proper practise, to be expected of a Public Service and more importantly not in the best interest of the constituents of the Bronllys Ward, Bronllys Community Council and Local Interest Groups, to which Elected as County Councillor to Serve.
The meeting to which you refer was an informal meeting for which minutes are not normally taken. I am lead to believe that the discussion of the possibility of a lease has been superseded by receipt of a number of Village Green applications and discussions about providing an open space as part of the redevelopment of the former Bronllys CP school site.
Application for a Village Green
Leader as you are aware, a group had formed in Bronllys, notably named Bronllys Green Group, with the specific aim of securing Open Green Space.
This Group has submitted the Village Green Application 3 times and twice the Plan relating to the area to be served, which is part of the Former Bronllys CP School Site has been rejected with the Green Group having resubmitted with a copy of the Local Development Plan for the Large Village of Bronllys. What better plan could there be with the boundary of the Village clearly marked.
The area of Green Space for the Open Green Space /Village Green Application, to be included on the proposed Housing Development on the Former Bronllys CP School Site, is as advised by the Legal Department in County Hall to the Ward County Councillor. The requested area of land, is of a lesser area of the whole Open Green Space of the former Bronllys CP School site which as said earlier, is openly enjoyed and used by residents of Bronllys for the last 50 years or so.
I have been informed by the Chair of the Bronllys Green Group that the Village Green Application is now being held up, by a complex legal matter. Leader please can you explain what is the complex legal matter?
This Village Green Application was discussed and submitted some 2 to 3 years ago and the Ward County Councillor believes in the in the normal business of a County Council should have been processed by now and determination made by Committee.
Please is there to be a determination of the Village Green Application, or the alternative verbal offer by Powys County Council for a Long-Term Lease Agreement? May the Ward County Councillor ask – “Exactly what is the issue, that is causing such a delay of 3 years?”
The Village Green application having been made, must be considered and determined in accordance with legal procedures for doing so and it is therefore not appropriate for me to require officers to set out the legal complexities of the application before the application has been properly considered, determined and communicated to the applicants.
Neuadd Terrace Play Park
Leader, Neuadd Terrace Play Park/Area, lies in between the rear of Neuadd Tce and the grounds of Former Bronllys CP School Site. They are separated by a Green Leaved Thick Hedge and the Play Park has never formed part of the School Site.
An Expression of Interest Application for Community Asset Transfer of the Neuadd Terrace Play Park to Bronllys Community Council was made, 2 years or more ago but no response has ever been received?
The Housing Services of Powys County Council have in the last year contracted another Planning Consultants – Asbri Planning to redesign the first proposal which had also been given to the Welsh Assembly Member.
My concern is there is now a proposed building of 2 houses part of the Neuadd Tce Play Park, which was not on the original Housing Proposals , plus a swale/drainage ditch running along a side length of the Open Green Space which was included and to be either designated under a Lease Agreement of determination of the Village Green.
Regarding the additional 2 proposed houses on the Neuadd Terrace Play Park, can I ask shouldn’t Powys CC be considering Policy 8 of the Local Development Plan with regard to Play/Recreation facilities and Open Green Space versus Housing Density.
The proposed development does include a proposal for two properties to be built on part of the play area. This issue was discussed at an online community consultation arranged by Asbri Planning and Powys Housing Service on 3rd June 2020 which was attended by you and other representatives of the local community ( including the Bronllys Community Council, Bronllys Action for Community Spirit and Bronllys Green Group). At the meeting it was explained that the various site constraints (as set out in the answers above) have made it necessary to make the best and most efficient use of the whole site in order to help satisfy local housing need. As such it is felt that that part of the play area was underused and would be put to better use for housing for local people. Without housing being sited in this location, the green central space would inevitable be smaller and less useable, and on that basis it is felt that housing in that location was appropriate. I am informed that overall feedback from all attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
When the planning application is submitted, the Planning Committee will be asked to consider Policy 8 of the Local Development Plan.