Land Behind Tregwilym Road
Declaration: As a resident on Tregwillym Rd, I was advised in early 2016 by the Head of Law and Standards, that I should declare an interest in all matters concerning this application, I also serve on the planning committee and will withdraw from any decision making with regards this application.
My actions in bringing this to residents attention and asking their questions were prior to the advice I subsequently received.
When I initially became aware of this proposal, I was broadly supportive as I was lead to believe that this piece of land was not a public open space. It later emerged that it was, I felt neighbours should be fully consulted and informed which is why I insisted a full presentation on the proposal was made at our Ward meeting. I promoted this via flyers and my Argus ‘grassroots’ column. Indeed, updates were given at subsequent Ward meetings so we could gauge neighbours views and present the facts, in an open forum. Having worked closely with ‘Seren’ on the ‘Scholars Rise’ development, helping bring affordable homes to Rogerstone, I had a working relationship and I would like to thank them for attending those initial meetings and listening to neighbours views in a constructive manner, I would also like to thank Norse for attending those meetings.
Initially, there was confusion as to whether this land was a ‘public open space’ and lessons need to be learnt for the future. As it transpired, this land was indeed a ‘public open space’ contrary to the original information I was given. Statutory notices failed to appear in the press (I’m informed this was not the fault of NCC) and the site was ‘cordoned off’ prior to a planning application and with no notice to neighbours, local wildlife was also relocated. These errors and miss judgements helped feed the feeling locally that this was a ‘done deal’ and neighbours rightly felt that despite my initial best efforts to inform them, they were not being properly consulted.
I’ve tried my best throughout this to get answers to neighbour’s questions; forwarding them to the then Cabinet Member and Officers, however, often, neighbours felt those questions weren’t being answered adequately.
My actions in representing residents views, and forwarding questions from neighbours lead to a complaint being raised to the Labour Group whips by the then Cabinet Member, I subsequently resigned from the Party. (see previous posts).
It would be fair to say, that the majority of our community are opposed to this application, not because they are against ‘affordable homes’ but because they consider the loss of a community’s much valued ‘green space’ is too big a price to pay, a feeling I totally empathise with. Ultimately, the final decision must rest with planning, but neighbours valid views and concerns must be given serious consideration.