(Title Image: via Google Earth)
Just before Christmas, Hafod housing association submitted plans for 41 homes on land near the former “8X’s” off Wyndham Close (next to Caitlyn’s Kitchen).
The proposed development would consist of 13 one bedroom apartments (in two blocks), 18 two bedroom houses, 9 three bedroom houses and 1 four bedroom house.
The main road access ends in a stub, which suggests future planning applications will be submitted for the remainder of the site, which could probably accommodate at least 100+ homes (if that’s what the developer’s long-term intentions are).
Because of its previous use as part of the Bridgend Arsenal, technically it’s a “brownfield site”. However, the land is included as part of Brackla Ridge green space in the Local Development Plan.
The developers argue in the design and access statement (pdf – p13) that:
“It is considered that the proposed development site is of a poor standard and is underutilised. Accordingly, whilst the site is allocated in the LDP as accessible natural greenspace, it does not form an integral part of the ‘Brackla Ridge’ area which is predominantly wooded land to the south of the site. The loss of the site to a beneficial use will not adversely affect the overall character of the green space or the separation provided by the wooded area from the Brackla Industrial Estate to the north and to residential areas in the south.”
Another issue is the close proximity to the Cemex cement works, Derbyshire Aggregates and Brackla Industrial Estate. However, an assessment (pdf) found that no complaints relating to dust or smells have been made to Bridgend Council for the last ten years, while a large number of houses are in even closer proximity to the cement works that this proposed development (St David’s Close etc.).
Another potential issue is an unadopted/unofficial footpath which runs up the hill linking Wyndham Close to the field/open space to the north of Archdeacon John Lewis Primary/Ger-y-Coed. The plans suggest this might be lost to the development.
Also, the development is likely to lead to further calls for improvements along Heol Simonston and the junction with Coychurch Road – which had been raised in the recent by-election to Brackla Community Council.
Is this development – and its assumed future phases – an opportunity to do something significant with Brackla Ridge/Coed-y-Morfa woods and the remaining 8xs to protect them from future development.
I’ve written about anti-social behaviour in the woods – which made headlines a few years ago – and the woods are an under-utilised asset. If it’s one thing Brackla currently lacks it’s green space. With proper care, finance and planning it could be turned into an urban park and nature reserve similar to Tremains Wood.
It would probably be too big a project for the community council to take on itself and with resources as scant as they are I doubt Bridgend Council would want to do it either. However, with the opportunity to claim Section 106 money, the door is opening – it’s just a case of whether it’s worth the trade-off by allowing housing on the brownfield part of Brackla Ridge.