Plans to build affordable homes on a children’s play area in Bridgend are to go before councillors again after they asked whether the need for housing outweighed the loss of recreational space.
Wales & West Housing Association want to build four two-bedroom homes on land to the west of Bryn Bragl in Brackla.
The site originally formed part of a larger scheme for 14 homes but the development was reduced to 10 homes, which then gained planning consent in July.
A condition of permission at the time involved the provision of an equipped play area which included a programme for ongoing maintenance.
But the housing association has now submitted another application to re-instate the four extra homes.
The site is currently an open space and involves an ‘informal unequipped recreational space’ with an all-weather multi-sports ball court.
Planning officers at Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) recommended the plans be turned down, saying they went against policies protecting open space and recreation facilities.
The officers point out that if the plans gain consent, only a small area will then be left designated for children’s play and that due to its scale, shape and location, it won’t be readily usable for local children, and won’t provide much amenity for existing residents, the wider community and future occupiers of the affordable homes already approved.
However at a development control meeting on August 30, councillors asked whether the benefits of affordable housing outweighed the reasons for refusing it.
A council audit on children’s play areas which took place last year indicated Brackla Ward had too many “unequipped informal play spaces” but a not enough equipped play space.
Affordable housing has also been identified as a ministerial priority for the Welsh Government.
The plans are to come before councillors again once extra information has been gathered on whether the development justifies the loss of greenspace.
Local democracy reporter