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25  June

Can 45 new village houses finally go ahead?

09/04/2024 @ 09:50


By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

Progress is being made on a proposal to build a housing estate in a Powys border village – after a planning application for a new pathway route was approved.

The proposal by Powys County Council for 45 homes which would include a 20% contribution of affordable homes, has been in the pipeline at land next to Fir House in Churchstoke since 2016.

In January 2017, an outline planning application was approved by councillors on the Planning committee which meant that the principle for building on the site was agreed – but the details of the scheme still needed to be submitted and agreed in a further planning application.

Since then, the scheme has run into problems which has seen the need to extend the time limit allowed for the development.

In December, Powys council lodged a s73 planning application to change condition 16 of the planning permission which is about the route of a footpath.

This two-metre wide path would go from the housing estate and finish at Churchstoke shopping centre.

The problem is that the potential path route goes through land not owned by the council.

Agent Bethan Evans of Asbri Planning Ltd said: “The revised drawing which is sought to replace the previously approved drawing in condition 16 would still provide a footpath albeit slightly adjusted to ensure it lies within the applicants land ownership.

“It will still provide a safe and convenient access to the shopping centre encouraging non-vehicle movements amongst future residents, in turn reducing the need and reliance on motor vehicles.”

Churchstoke Community Council objected to the scheme when they discussed the application last January.

The council said: “Such a large housing development needs a footpath for pedestrian safety east of the shops and west of the village facilities which avoids the need to cross the busy A489.

Churchstoke council added that Powys council has not properly explained the “rationale” and reason for the belief that the original path route is “unachievable”.

Planning Officer, Richard Edwards, said: “It was noted the originally approved line of the proposed footway connection relied on land not in the control of the applicant nor the highway authority.

“The highway authority has raised no objection to the proposed change. Given the response of the highways officer, it is considered the proposed change is acceptable with the condition to be updated to reflect the revised plan.”

While noting the comments from Churchstoke council – he pointed out that the path is “still being provided” and that it was considered “appropriate” by the Powys Highways Authority.

Due to this he approved the application.

Exactly a year ago councillors on the Powys Planning committee approved a three-year time limit extension to produce detailed plans to build the housing estate.

This followed an earlier three-year extension granted in 2020.

At the Planning meeting on April 6, 2023, councillors said they were “really disappointed” that the houses hadn’t been built.