The “Save the farmland and green fields at Cosmeston.” Petition which collected 5,272 signatures, went before the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee on Tuesday 15th December 2020.
The petition called on Welsh Ministers to adhere to their environmental and climate change policies and to the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2005 and urged the Welsh Government to withdraw their plans for a 576 housing units’ development on the scenic coastal fields and farmland at Lower Cosmeston Farm, Cosmeston.
During the short consideration of the petition, Michelle Brown MS (Independent) proposed, “I would like to write back to the Minister (Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance) to share the concerns raised by the petitioner and ask for these to be considered by the Welsh Government in relation to the development, and I also seek a response to the specific points raised by the petitioner. I would also like to ask Welsh Government how they are balancing protecting the environment versus their desire to build.”
Leanne Wood MS (Plaid Cymru) agreed the proposal, together with Jack Sargent MS (Welsh Labour) and Committee Chair, Janet Finch Saunders MS (Welsh Conservatives).
The petition was submitted by Michael Philip Garland, Chair of Keep Cosmeston Green who represent many of residents’ concerns that this development will greatly affect the areas’ countryside amenity, ecology, biodiversity, and cultural historical heritage. The lack of nearby facilities and lack of highway infrastructure will exacerbate traffic use, congestion, and pollution, and place a great strain on many services in the surrounding areas.
The Written Statement placed before the Committee also referred to the lack of procedural fairness with the Welsh Government submitting the application during the Coronavirus pandemic resulting in the inability to hold public meetings, leafleting, or discuss the plans in a proper manner.
There were also concerns as to whether the Vale of Glamorgan Council could process the planning application objectively, as the Vale Council admit that they have been in negotiation with Welsh Government for a parcel of land to site a proposed new Special Educational School and have reached “agreement in principle” subject to planning approval, which may constitute a ‘prejudicial interest’. Similarly, the Vale Council have agreed £8.25M funding from Welsh Government for this proposed school under 21st Century Schools Band “B” funding, again which may be considered as a ‘prejudicial interest’.
Michael Garland considered the response by the Petitions Committee as helpful, as it maintains public and Welsh Government awareness to the Keep Cosmeston Green campaign.
Another course of action taken by Keep Cosmeston Green, together with the Saving Sully and Lavernock Group and Sully and Lavernock Community Council, has been to request that Welsh Ministers ‘call-in’ the application, due to the effect the development will have on surrounding areas. Welsh Ministers are currently awaiting the Local Planning Authorities Report before making their decision.
Keep Cosmeston Green are also investigating concerns over contamination from the various unregulated landfill dumps in the 1970’s, and its possible effects on the public’s health in the area, as breakage of the soil may have induced windblown contamination plus contaminants may have leached down into the watercourses running through the site.
Finally, I would like to thank all those people who signed, shared, and supported the petition and those who are sending objections to the Cosmeston development to the Vale of Glamorgan Council.
(Chair – Keep Cosmeston Green)