Environmentalists in Torfaen are pleased and relieved that the Council meeting on 21/7 voted against development on a de facto green belt north of Cwmbran with 1200 houses. Well done to the majority of Councillors who agreed with us, and almost all the local residents, that it is just not necessary (forecasts are that the Torfaen population will decline) or sustainable. This is six years after a similar packed council meeting voted narrowly in favour, and we thought we had lost the battle. Never give up! It is indeed heart-warming that many of our elected representatives in Torfaen are sensitive to the wishes of local residents, and recognise an unsustainable and inappropriate proposal when they see it. No doubt there will be an appeal though, this is not the end of the story.

And many thanks to Torfaen Friends of the Earth, and Corrinne in particular, for presenting my contribution to the Council meeting when I was tied up at the Royal Welsh Show. CPRW and FoE are working together very well on most environmental issues.

In my view the whole planning process needs review - much of the strategic planning, which allocates areas for development, is carried through with minimum consultation, so that residents do not realise what has been decided for their area until the developer applies for planning permission, when the planners response is ‘you should have objected five years ago, it’s too late now’. More democracy, community consultation, regard to sustainability, please.

And if you live in Torfaen, you have very little time to do anything about the draft Local Development Plan – we are currently in a 6-week consultation period on ‘Alternative Sites’ proposed during the recent (now closed) consultation on the whole draft LDP. I have had one concerned resident contact me on a proposal for a large housing development at Tranch. This particular consultation ends on 10th august – contact TCBC if you want to know if there are any development proposals near you (01633-647328)