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Council to meet this month to decide on future of Talbot Green new town.

February 14, 2013 7:00 PM

A special meeting of the Development Control Committee is to take place on Thursday, 28 February 2013 to discuss the application for a new town centre at Talbot Green. The meeting will be held at 5 p.m at the County Borough Council Offices, The Pavilions, Clydach Vale.

Concerns have already been expressed by Welsh Liberal Democrats locally about the effect it may have on the area as a whole.

One of the major threats to our town centres are the growing number of out of town developments They have the advantage, for the customer, of convenience, longer opening hours, and free car parking. How can town centres compete?

Plans for the new town were submitted earlier this year, and can be found on the RCT Council website. Some consultation has already been carried out. The Vale of Glamorgan Council have objected because they say that amongst other things no consideration has been made of the impact on retail centres in Barry and Cowbridge, The question has to be asked, if an adjacent Council is raising such concerns then why aren't RCT? The documents accompanying the plans state quite clearly that the scheme, if it goes ahead, will affect existing town centres and businesses.

The Vale Council also raised the question of whether a full traffic impact study had been carried out in relation to the A4222 to Cowbridge. We think there is just as much reason to be concerned about the impact of extra traffic on roads in RCT. Traffic jams at rush hour already cause havoc for many, and the existing out of town development at Talbot Green causes significant problems at times.

The project still needs to go before the Council's Planning committee, but the argument that will be used by officers in favour of passing it is that is in already in the Local Development Plan. So why was the new town centre proposal ever included in the plan? What is their justification for this proposal? We have enough empty shops and problems in existing retail areas across the County.

Planning Policy Wales guidance is clear that development should first take place around existing town centres and that developments such as this should only take place in exceptional circumstances of the need is established beyond doubt. That is not the case here.

We are currently carrying out a retail survey in town centres across RCT, and one of the questions being asked is what the impact of out of town centres has been on trade. The reports which accompany the submissions to the Local Development Plan indicate that the assessments so far made show there will be a detrimental effect on existing town centres.

As a member of the Development Control committee, Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell will of course be attending the meeting with an open mind and listening to arguments on either side, but has made it clear that there are a significant number of questions that need to be answered and concerns that need to be addressed.

Planning application:

Application No: 11/1330/13 - Development of new town centre comprising: a 10,801sq.m. gross foodstore (Class A1); 8 pump petrol filling station; 35,522sq.m. gross retail floor space (Class A1); 600sq.m. gross café space (Class A1); 1,000sq.m. financial/professional service space (Class A2); 2,390sq.m. gross food and drink space (Class A3); 8 screen cinema; 80 bed hotel; 64 dwellings (Class C2/C3); multi storey and surface level car parking; associated access infrastructure, re-profiling of land, landscaping and flood alleviation works - Land adjacent to Cowbridge Road and A473 (inc. Leekes Dept. Store and the former Purolite Chemical Works Site and the Staedtler Factory Site), Talbot Green, Pontyclun