Extra time is being asked for to build 176 homes on the site of steel lintel manufacturer Catnic in Caerphilly.
Outline planning permission for the residential development was provisionally given by councillors in March 2017 and officially agreed in April 2018, when a Section 106 agreement was signed with Caerphilly County Borough Council.
What’s a Section 106 agreement?
A Section 106 agreement is a legally binding private contract between a developer (or a number of
interested parties) and a Local Planning Authority (LPA) that operates alongside a statutory planning permission.
Such agreements require developers to carry out specified planning obligations when implementing planning
permissions and are the result of negotiations on these matters between the parties.
Improvements might mean road upgrades, new playgrounds or even a financial contribution to a scheme to encourage walking and cycling, for example.
As per the terms of the approved application, detailed plans had to be submitted to the council by April 2021 – otherwise the planning permission would lapse. In addition to this, building work has to begin by April 2023.
Consultants Geraint John Planning, working on behalf of developers MC295 Ltd, has now asked for extra time to get the development underway.
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The 176-home scheme at Pontypandy Industrial Estate includes a mix of one-bed flats and two, three, and four-bedroom houses, and includes public open space, a multi-use games area, and parking.
According to the original planning application, Catnic’s office building and manufacturing facility, which is off Pontygwindy Road, will be demolished and operations of the Tata Steel-owned company moved to Dyffryn Business Park, in Ystrad Mynach. However, this has not been confirmed by Catnic.
A Tata Steel spokesperson said: “The Catnic business currently operates from sites at Pontypandy Industrial Estate and Ystrad Mynach. We are exploring several options for the future, including both remaining at the current premises or relocating to other sites.”
Caerphilly Observer has been told the lease on the site is due to end next year and asked Tata to confirm this. However the firm’s press office did not provide an answer citing “commercial confidentiality”.
At the time of the original decision, a single letter of objection was received by the council from a resident who raised concerns over traffic congestion. However, planning officials claimed there would be a reduction in traffic if the scheme were to be approved.
Cllr Jamie Pritchard, who represents the Morgan Jones ward for Labour, backed the plans at the planning meeting in March 2017, but expressed concern over the lack of social housing in the scheme.
Just nine of the 176 homes will be sold to a registered housing association – 5% of the development. The council has a target of 40% affordable housing to be negotiated on new developments in the Caerphilly basin area.
The same policy states the target can be ignored in “exceptional circumstances” where “the provision of affordable housing at the levels identified may result in the development of a site becoming unviable”. In other words here the developer cannot see a profit in the scheme.
This article was updated to make it clearer that the information about a possible move of Catnic was sourced from the original planning application agreed in April 2018 and to include the comment from Tata Steel.
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