Mabey site cuts 150 houses ahead of county council decision next week

By Marcus Law in Planning

THE fate of a Chepstow housing development will be decided next week when an application comes before county planners.

Plans are in place for a housing development of up to 600 houses on the former Mabey National Shipyard site in Chepstow, with access from the A48 at Station Road, and the application has been recommended for approval.

But while original plans were to provide up to 600 houses, offices, workshops, commercial and leisure facilities, according to a report from Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) planning case officer Kate Young, it is likely that just 450 houses will be built.

Concerns over the effect the development would have on the A48 have been raised previously, with the traffic plans branded “an absolute joke” last year by Chepstow’s deputy mayor Marc Le Peltier.

A Welsh Government-imposed restriction was lifted last year after concerns about the traffic impact on the already busy trunk road. The resulting plans for the A48 Station Road junction suggested the reversal of the one-way system around Nelson Street Car Park and alterations to the junction.

Progress on the site was stalled by the Welsh Government in early 2015, after concerns about air quality and the capacity of the A48, but was lifted last year with the completion of a study by transport consultants Vectos.

The resulting plans for the junction found that significant changes would be required for 600 houses to be built, including the reversal of the one-way system around Nelson Street Car Park, but also found that improvements to roads and pavements would only be required if the development is larger than 450 homes. Only after the construction of the 451st dwelling would the full scheme need to be implemented.

While the plans have been approved by Chepstow Town Council, which requested thorough consultation as detailed plans are developed, the plans have attracted widespread opposition, with letters of objection being submitted to MCC from 61 addresses.

Some say that the plans will have an adverse impact on air quality on Hardwick Hill, while other comments state that the town cannot cope with more housing.

Despite concerns about a potential increase in air pollution, an Air Quality Assessment submitted as part of the planning application has found that there would be a “negligible effect” on air quality on Hardwick Hill.

The assessment, which was based on the likely traffic generated by 450 dwellings, predicted that nitrogen dioxide concentration levels will reduce overtime due to stricter controls on vehicular emissions.

The plan also proposes a number of pedestrian and cycle links connecting the site with the town centre. There will be a pedestrian link into Garden City from Hardwick Avenue and one adjacent to the quarry linking into Thornwell.

It is expected that the development will provide 35 per cent affordable housing.

The plans are recommended for approval, and a decision will be made by MCC’s Planning Committee next Wednesday (26th April).

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