South West Wales

Concern over 1,200 homes plan on Carmarthen greenbelt

Plans to allow up to 1,200 new homes to be built in one area in Carmarthen, have been attacked as "building a new town" on greenbelt land.

Critics claim Carmarthenshire council wants to "dump in one place" all housing plans for the county up to 2016, with its proposals for west Carmarthen.

It would be the biggest development in the town's history, but the council said it is a "sensible way forward".

A consultation period ends in a week.

The draft proposals involve earmarking 320 acres (129.5 hectares) of largely agricultural land just to the north of the A40, for the Carmarthen's future growth.

Planning applications already approved for the area, which includes the former St David's Hospital site, include separate developments of 153 homes, a 20-bed care home, car parking areas and a new court building.

Among the critics is Carmarthen town councillor Alun Lenny who said the long-term proposals for the location were based on flawed population projections and could see more than 3,000 people moving in, increasing its number by around 20%.

An illustration of the site
The site occupies some 320 acres on the west side of Carmarthen

Opponents claim that such a demographic change would put a strain on health and social services, as many of the homes would only be afforded by people retiring to the area, and that would alter the Welsh-language nature of the town.

A proposed link road would also ensure that estates which are created would be used a shortcut by commuters trying to avoid morning and evening traffic jams, they say.

Another critic, the Reverend Geraint Davies, 73, a retired Presbyterian minister, said: "It would be horrendous.

"The traffic is already stop-start outside my house in the morning and from 4.30 in the evening. People have got very selfish. They don't let you out from your drive.

"It's not on. Just because the assembly government says there's got to be a certain number of houses, they have dumped them all here in Carmarthen.

"There's lots of things they haven't thought through."

Carmarthenshire council's head of planning, Eifion Bowen, said the proposed draft plan would give a framework to coordinate future planning applications.-

"We need to take a long-term view. The development of these houses is not going to happen overnight," he said.

"It will be there to meet local demand, and whilst the will be an element of inward migration, there's quite a sustained grown in Carmarthenshire's population from within the boundaries of the county."

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