AN OUTLINE planning application which establishes the principle of building 42 homes at a former primary school site in Ystradgynlais, has been passed.

But councillors at Powys County Council’s (PCC) planning committee on Thursday, July 4, were annoyed that none of the homes will be affordable.

The committee was also told that Penrhos School Developments had agreed a section 106 agreement, to contribute £17,500 for new fixed play items at a nearby playground.

Councillors believed this sum was not enough considering the size of the development.

Although the plans are outline and could change in the future, developers, at the fomer Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Penrhos, Penrhos School Developments want to build:

  • seven two bedroomed homes,
  • two three bedroomed houses,
  • 19 three bedroomed houses
  • 14 four bedroomed homes

Cllr Kathryn Silk (Liberal Democrat – Bwlch) said: “The developers have offered £17,500 and we seem to have just accepted?

“This strikes me as being a very small contribution for a development of 42 houses.

“To buy a single piece of equipment costs about £5,000.

“Frankly what you can buy for £17,500 is next to nothing.

“It seems to be wholly inadequate.”

“Are these houses all going to be affordable and if not what contribution are we asking for?

“I’m really unhappy with this.”

Cllr Huw Williams, (Labour, Ystradgynlais), said: “As far as affordable housing is concerned I have had animated conversations with Peter (Morris – principal development manager).

“It’s one of the most deprived areas in Powys and there is no affordable housing in the LDP, why us?

Cllr Williams said that there was also a larger site to develop behind the former school which meant that he had concerns about the mini roundabout  access the site.

Mr Morris said: “For the LDP affordability assessment we broke the county into four areas based on residential land sale values.

“And that’s the key here, the values being achieved in the sale of property is lower than other parts of the county.

“It does not mean that affordable housing does not occur in Ystradgynlais.”

Mr Morris added that a social housing development was taking place at another former school site in the area, and that affordable housing provision would be looked at again.

Mr Morris also explained that if the developers were asked for more than £17,500 already on the table it could affect the viability of the development.

He stressed that the developers would need to consider the extra costs of having to test for land contamination.

Cllr Hywel Lewis, (Independent – Llangunllo) said: “For me this seems to be good use of a brownfield site.”

“So many old school sites seem to remain redundant for years and years.

“So it’s good to see this coming back into use.”

Cllr Lewis added that he would move the recommendations.

Penrhos was one of several schools in the Ystradgynlais area that was closed in 2012 as part of a multi-million scheme by PCC.

Four new schools were to be built in the area to replace 10.