Caerleon Labour Councillors Gail Giles and Jason Hughes have sent this message to the Welsh Government Minister responsible for planning
Following the recent public meeting organised by Gail and Jason, they have written to Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs asking for her to consider calling-in the University’s Outline Planning Application.
Gail and Jason firmly support the local concerns raised by residents and Caerleon Civic Society as well as recognising wider issues of more than local importance associated with the proposed development.
Based on the criteria for a request for a ‘call-in’ the following points were submitted to the Minister:
1. Air Pollution – Caerleon is an ancient historic town internationally renowned for its Roman remains, which attracts over 80,000 tourists and visitors annually. Regardless of its extremely restricted road infrastructure, there has been significant housing development resulting in a huge increase in traffic and its associated air pollution. Caerleon is a designated Air Quality Management Area and High Street is the most polluted in Newport. Air pollution levels are also increasing in adjacent streets. Studies undertaken by Newport City Council identify the amount of traffic and the type of road infrastructure result in poor traffic flow which raises the pollution levels. This is very obvious at peak times, particularly with school traffic. There are a significant number of residential properties and a Primary School located within the Air Quality Management Area and the serious impact of any increase in pollution levels arising from the development cannot be underestimated nor overlooked.
2. Significant residential development – As stated above, Caerleon is already overdeveloped, with very little open public space other than that owned by CADW. This proposed development is considered to be inappropriate in scale and size and would potentially result in a population increase of up to 1,500 in a community with a current population of 8,000. Clearly this results in many thousands of additional car journeys adding to air pollution, traffic and parking problems. There is concern that the development of the Campus site will adversely affect the setting of the listed Campus buildings and prejudice the overall ability of Caerleon to fulfil its role as a site of recognised historic interest.
3. Effects beyond the immediate area – every street in Caerleon is affected by each new home built and the car/s associated with it. All roads are adversely affected by poor traffic flow, including ingress and egress on to main roads to Newport areas and Cwmbran, and further on to the M4. Pollution and traffic levels in New Road, Caerleon, across the bridge from the main town, are increasing to significant levels. The new hospital build is currently underway in Llanfrechfa, which can be accessed via Ponthir Road, Caerleon.
4. Does it raise new planning issues?- A main concern and criticism that we have raised over decades is the fact that planning applications are decided as individual cases and do not take into account unique conditions such as those found in Caerleon. It is not about Nimbyism; it is about protecting and valuing the whole community before every inch of it is built on!
As this impacts on both national and local policy it meets the criteria for referral to the Welsh Minister, in regard to Caerleon and in the wider public interest.
It is hoped to receive a response from the Minister before Christmas. Councillor Gail Giles