Residents voice fears over 300 new homes plan
DOZENS of people turned out to a meeting in a Neath village to raise their concerns over proposals for 300 houses included in the deposit local development plan.
The plan — which includes housing allocations across Neath Port Talbot Council for the next 13 years — was released to the public on August 28, and a consultation is running until October 15.
One controversial issue in the plan is for a major housing development off Fairyland Road in Tonna, on the outskirts of Neath.
The proposals were objected to in January, when they were mentioned in a draft.
But the controversial proposal was still included in the deposit plan last month.
A meeting was organised by the village community council on Thursday evening, and saw the primary school hall packed out with between 80 to 100 people.
Clerk Peter White said: "The community council felt that we ought to call a meeting about these proposals. The point of the meeting was to present them with the facts and get their concerns back."
Residents raised issues with drainage, roads and public transport, schooling and the effect on the biodiversity of the area.
Some of those issues had been objected to in January, said Mr White, who added that Neath Port Talbot Council had given responses or solutions to the objections.
He said the authority had said drainage would be upgraded if the proposals went ahead, transport tests found no issues with traffic and that there was enough school provision at Tonnau Primary School.
Mr White reminded those in attendance that if the plans went ahead, 300 houses would not be built immediately, but over time, with 100 planned between 2016 and 2020, a second 100 between 2030 and 2023 and the final 100 by 2026.
He said the community council were happy to provide a uniform letter to residents with all the objections who could then sign it and add their address, rather than filling in the complex LDP consultation forms online.
Some residents suggested a working group of people with experience in the different areas be set up to write that letter, and at the end of the meeting a small group came forward to do that.
Politicians also offered their support, with Bethan Jenkins, AM for South Wales West talking at the event and Peter Hain MP sending his apologies and issuing a statement.