Pencoed Primary redevelopment & Rockwool expansion approved

The latest Development Control Committee meeting took place earlier this week, and here’s a summary of the key points. A webcast of the meeting is available here (link), though the sound quality is very poor (or maybe I’m going deaf).

New Homes for (Former) Pencoed Primary site

The new Pencoed Primary is set to open next week, but the future of the former school site across the road has now been decided. The development (more here) consists of a mix of houses and apartments and is entirely “affordable” (pictured above).

Cllr. Alex Williams (Ind, Penprysg) was worried that the Penprysg Road bridge – which has resulted in a moratorium being placed on development in western Pencoed – would cause further problems, though an officer clarified that the moratorium on development only applied to the Hendre area of Pencoed.

Cllr. Jon-Paul Blundell (Lab, Cefn Glas) repeated concerns from the police over a cycle/pathway crossing the site, which officers said were contentious plans but were justified by providing a shortcut to the new Pencoed Primary.

The application was approved unanimously.

Rockwool Expansion Approved Despite Traffic Concerns

An application was submitted to expand the Rockwool factory near Heol-y-Cyw. The expansion expected to create up to 65 jobs partly in response to increased demand for new fireproof cladding as a result of the Grenfell Tower disaster. The plans consist of a new hardstanding storage facility and logistics hub to the south of the existing factory.

Objections were raised by a public speaker, who demanded significant road improvements due to the potential increase in HGVs (though the number of vehicles travelling to the existing factory entrance would decrease).

These calls were echoed by Cllr. Alex Williams, who understood the economic benefits but couldn’t support the scheme based on the current state of the roads, which could see up to 11 HGVs an hour. Cllr. Ken Watts (Ind, Newton) called for a reduction in the speed limit to 40mph, while Cllr. John Spanswick (Lab, Brackla) was concerned that a decision might be made based on the wrong facts.

Officers said the economic benefits of the development would outweigh the loss of agricultural land and decisions have to be made based on material planning considerations.

In an electronic vote, councillors voted 9 to 4 in favour.

Other points of interest:

  • An application from United Welsh housing association for a remodelled HMO for 3 adults at Prince Road in Kenfig Hill (apparently housing ex-prisoners already, with associated anti-social behaviour) was approved, but only after councillors added an amendment which limited it to a 12-month temporary consent.
  • Councillors deferred a proposal from Wales & West housing association to expand an innovative low-carbon housing development at Bryn Bragl in Brackla from 10 housing units to 14 units. Cllr. Spanswick recommended negotiations with the developers over a contribution to the upkeep of existing play areas, after officers initially recommended it be refused due to the loss of open space.
  • A joint housing land availability study showed that Bridgend only has 3.4 years of available housing land, measured against a 5-year requirement set down by the Welsh Government. It’s the second year in succession that it’s fallen below the 5-year requirement – though 19 of Wales’ 22 councils were unable to prove a 5-year supply.
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