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Plans for 70 new homes at former police college site in Cwmbran

A FINAL redevelopment phase of the former police training centre in Cwmbran is set for approval

More than 327 houses have already been approved on the site of the former Police Training College, in St Dials, Cwmbran with the second phase of 108 homes nearing completion.

A further 70 could be approved this week when plans for the third and final phase of the redevelopment go before councillors with officers recommending planning permission is granted subject to conditions and a legal agreement covering affordable housing, recreation and ecological improvements.

The two, three and four-bedroom houses in a mix of terraced, semi-detached and detached properties, and one block of two-storey apartments, would be built on four fields which formed part of the grounds of the college that opened in July 1974 as the first purpose-built police training centre in the United Kingdom and where rookie cops from all over Wales trained before its closure in 2005.

It had originally been intended the redevelopment could accommodate 456 homes but that was reduced to 350, a figure endorsed by an independent inspector who approved Torfaen’s local development plan in 2013.

Approval would mean a total of 397 homes will have been given the go-ahead, with first phase of 219 having received permission in 2015.

The first two phases were built by Taylor Wimpey while Barratt/ David Wilson Homes are the applicants for the latest phase meaning the buildings will, according to officers, “differ from those developed” though they will be similar in scale and materials used.

In plans unveiled in March 22 the applicants intended to build 84 homes but have reduced that number to 14 due to concerns about the ecological impact.

A report by planning officer Duncan Smith explains that as no development framework was put in place to guide the redevelopment the balance between the need for new housing and conserving the nature on site is led by the previous planning approvals.

a map showing where new homes will be built
A map showing the phases of development on the former police college site in Cwmbran. Picture: Savills/ Barratt David Wilson Homes

As 108 of the 131 outstanding homes were approved for the second phase the report states this meant there would be more than the 23 from the original total if an application for a third phase was to be made.

The report when phase two was approved stated: “Therefore allowing 108 on this phase would likely result in an overall increase in the provision of the number of dwellings above the allocated 350 should Phase 3 come forward in the future.”

Mr Smith, drawing attention to the previous advice, states in his report: “It was made clear, therefore, that approving Phase 2 would likely result in Phase 3 exceeding the 350 dwellinghouses allocated in the Local Plan.”

Local councillors have already raised concerns over existing parking problems and over-development and that the site will only be accessed from the existing “spine road” serving the two earlier phases and that there will be no second entrance, including for construction traffic.

The report says while a second entrance “would have been preferable” it hasn’t been possible due to site constraints but the site can operate safely with just the one access point.

At the planning committee meeting on Thursday councillors will be updated on how many trees could be planted, with 41 to be felled, and so far only 26 replacements proposed while the applicant will also have to address comments from the council’s housing officer that some of the affordable homes do not meet required standards.

The committee, which will meet at 2pm at the Civic Centre, Pontypool on Thursday, January 19, is being recommended to approve the application and that once a legal agreement is in place the council’s head of planning will be authorised to grant permission in line with the lengthy conditions and any amendments required.

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Posted inNews

Plans for 70 new homes at former police college site in Cwmbran

a housing estate
Photo: Cwmbran Life