Bungalows for over-55s in Monmouthshire village approved

PLANS for new bungalows for people aged over 55 in a Monmouthshire village have been approved by councillors, despite the scheme going against the council’s Local Development Plan.

The care scheme will see 24 homes built, including 20 bungalows, on a site next to the recently-opened Foxhunters Care Community in Llanfoist.

Planning officers had recommended refusal of the scheme as the site is allocated for employment land in the Local Development Plan (LDP).

But at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, Matthew Gray, representing the applicant, told councillors there is “a critical need” for accommodation to serve the over 55s in the county.

“The proposed use as 24 extra care units represents a logical and sensible use of the site,” Mr Gray said.

“The proposed development will compliment the existing care home in addition to providing high quality bungalow accommodation for those aged over 55.”

Cllr Phil Murphy was among those to support the plan, saying the proposal represented “a better use of the land” than alternative employment uses.

“Covid has altered the whole situation with regards to that type of development,” he said, adding that some of the council’s aims since putting together the LDP have now changed.

Cllr Louise Brown said there was a need to provide accommodation for older people in Monmouthshire.

“There is a demand for bungalows and often people who wish to retire want to have a bungalow rather than a house,” she added.

Cllr Roger Harris voiced concern over going against the recommendation of planning officers, but said he would ‘reluctantly’ support the plans.

“It will be a very nice addition to what we have in the area,” he said.

But planning officer, Craig O’Connor, said the development would not create enough jobs to be considered as an employment use for the site.

“Trying to preserve the land allocation we have is quite critical to ensure we get sustainable developments with job opportunities as well,” he said.

Cllr Giles Howard, who represents the ward, argued that although the site is allocated for employment, other developments such as a Brewers Fayre pub and care home have already been built in the area.

Cllr Sheila Woodhouse said the development would be “a great asset” to the area, and said she hoped more employment sites would be available in the council’s replacement LDP when it is agreed.

The plans include detached and semi-detached one, two and three-bedroom bungalows, with 24-hour emergency support, communal areas and 34 car parking spaces.