Response from Jason and Gail to Redrow Consultation in respect of the former Caerleon University Campus Site
The site has previously been the subject of statutory pre-application consultation with the public, pre-application discussions with the Council and has been presented to the Design Commission for Wales for review. A hybrid application was submitted to Newport City Council Planning Officers in October 2018 by the University of South Wales and was refused.
The site is archaeologically sensitive and countless representations have been made both in light of this consultation by Redrow and the previous applicant USW, which have given an extensive account of public feeling towards the development.
We have also made full representations previously, which are attached to this submission.
Redrow has said that they acknowledge the uniqueness of this site, so much so that they see it as a flagship development.
At this time and specific to this current proposal, we do not believe this to be the case. While the uniqueness of the building and ornamental gardens adds substantially to the appeal of the development there is little in the actual proposal aside to this that makes the development stand out from other Redrow developments that are similar to the area and there appears to be very little that acknowledges the iconic nature of the site.
This is a genuine opportunity for Redrow to introduce a wow factor into construction and show the world what future estates can look like rather than a cut and paste development that lacks individuality and creativity and fails to emphasise the importance of the site which is situated between the historic old town and modern housing estates. It is a golden opportunity to bring together the community and deliver a state of the art sustainable, attractive, community development which would respect the views of our community.
You will note from the attached copies of our previous submissions that we have consistently objected on the grounds of increased traffic, air pollution and the additional stress on the local infrastructure.
We do not believe the present application addresses these issues, but will in fact add to the increasing traffic situation which has seen demands caused by the recent addition of several larger developments along Lodge Road and Ponthir Road and the new Grange Hospital in Llanfrechfa, which is also expected to increase traffic in the Caerleon area considerably.
Specific issues of concern are:
1. The road system
The lack of a fully circular road system means vehicles will have to turn around/ reverse to travel through the site. While inconvenient for local residents, it could cause genuine difficulties for Refuse Lorries, public transport and emergency vehicles as well as delivery lorries etc. It would also contribute to poorer air quality and increased congestion within the site.
There appears to have been little thought to public transport links with the development and we would expect this to be well thought out in any future proposal/application.
2. Sustainable Energy
We are disappointed that the development does not incorporate alternative energy, such as solar, as standard along with electricity points for electric cars at every individual property – thus potentially, encouraging a move towards cleaner transport. We would also have liked a commitment to fibre/cable infrastructure to support modern technology and super-fast broadband.
3. Ecology and environment
We would welcome more direct commitments to working with local and national groups to develop a ground breaking environmentally sensitive site to include initiatives to support local wild and plant life and the bee populations for instance, particularly as Newport City Council is the first to become a ‘bee friendly’ city. Involvement with local schools would also be welcomed.
We would like to see an absolute commitment to the green and open spaces that guarantees that the rugby pitch, ornamental gardens surrounding the listed building and other open spaces are protected. We expect open spaces suitable for recreation and play meet the highest requirements.
4. Community Facilities
We do not support the removal of the community facility to be replaced by additional flats. There is a need for increased community facilities, particularly on the outskirts of the town centre, as the town hall is often fully subscribed.
5. Housing Mix
We do not feel there is an adequate mix of properties on the site that cater for local needs including those who wish to purchase a first time property and those hoping to downsize. There appears to be an overprovision of four bedroom dwellings. The likely cost of four bedroom properties may well be restrictive for the vast majority of local people.
6. Traffic proposals
We have considerable concerns about the College Crescent and Ponthir Road traffic proposal. The road became a one-way route because of original safety concerns and we have strong reservations about returning this to a two-way road system and see this as a step backwards.
From this junction we are likely to see increased issues along Station Road towards Sainsbury’s and the mini roundabout. There are in fact three junctions along this short stretch of road (Old Station, Usk Vale Drive and Broadwalk and important crossing points for residents and schoolchildren from several large estates along Ponthir Road. This is a key route in and out of Caerleon and already experiences a high volume of traffic. We see the proposed traffic initiatives at College Crescent significantly adding to problems along Station Road.
The Lodge Road bridge, prior to College Crescent, is also likely to have issues. The bridge is narrow with traffic coming from the town and then turning into College Crescent which often results in slow traffic and, during peak times, tailbacks from both directions. This development would exacerbate the situation.
The proposed additional new access roads to the site from St Cadoc’s Close and Bellin Close on to Roman Way will also cause substantial issues along those roads.
St Cadoc’s Close is not wide enough to accommodate that level of additional use. There is no off road parking available and so residents use the road for parking, essentially limiting it to a single lane highway. Residents of the Close are dependent on the ability to park along one side of the route as there are no other options nearby for them. It is not, therefore, appropriate as an access route into the new development.
Bellin Close leads on to a sharp bend on Roman Way requiring traffic to wait either at the top or bottom of Roman Way to allow traffic to pass. This section of Roman Way is essentially a single lane due to parked cars and increasing the use of Roman Way, as an entry/access point would cause increased traffic problems in the area. Roman Way is also a residential area that has a high level of younger families with children and elderly residents who already find navigating the road difficult.
In regard to lighting within the development, we would welcome a daylight, sunlight and overshadowing assessment to be undertaken and proactive measures to minimise the environmental impact of light pollution to in an area that has a diverse wildlife.
8. Walking and Cycle ways
We support the development of well-integrated , safe cycle and walking paths on and between the site and surrounding area.
9. 106 monies
There must be sufficient provision of 106 monies to support increased demands on the local infrastructure, particularly schools and medical services in Caerleon.
In conclusion, we believe this is an unique opportunity for Redrow to work in partnership with the community and to produce a first class, flagship development in an internationally recognised, historic town , that will not only enhance our community but also be a wonderful edition to their portfolio.
Councillor Jason Hughes, Caerleon Ward member
Councillor Gail Giles, Caerleon Ward member