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Plans for affordable housing at former Cwmbran care home delayed due to ‘ancient woodland’

The former Tŷ Gwyn Care Home in Fairwater
The former Tŷ Gwyn Care Home in Fairwater (Photo: Cwmbran Life)

PLANS for new affordable housing at a former care home in Cwmbran that shut during the Covid pandemic have been delayed due to ancient woodland.

But a council has said it understands the transfer of the former Ty Gwyn Care Home, in Cwmbran, between two housing associations is likely to take place within weeks, despite delays in gaining planning permission due to the potential impacts of construction on the nearby woods.

Ty Gwyn was closed in August 2020 by not-for-profit housing, care and support body Hafod, which said the ageing building in Fairwater had reached the end of its life.

Hafod had run the home since taking it over from Torfaen County Borough Council in 2002, but in February last year said it wished to surrender the lease it held on the site. The council’s cabinet then approved a plan to sell it to a registered social landlord for £50,000.

Though the figure is below the market value, the cabinet agreed the plan as the site would be used for 100 per cent affordable housing.

However, at this week’s full council meeting Cllr David Daniels, the cabinet member for adult services and housing, said the lease is still held by Hafod, but it is expected Bron Afon, which has more than 8,000 homes in Torfaen, will purchase the site.

He said plans for affordable housing had been held up due to the planning delay but are expected to progress.

The Labour member said: “Since the home was decommissioned Torfaen officers have been working hard to get the site to a position where development can begin.

“Asset management are working with Hafod regarding rights to the site with a view to disposal to Bron Afon.

“There is a preliminary application for planning however there have been issues on site related to nearby woodland that has been identified as ancient woodland. This has slowed the process considerably as we have to navigate construction without impacting significantly on the trees however work is ongoing and hopefully nearing completion.”

The Pontnewydd councillor said the plans involve affordable homes and “adapted properties” which he said would “complement the nearby Bron Afon bungalows”.

He added: “Despite the lack of planning permission Bron Afon has gained approval from their board to purchase the site so we are hoping the transfer from Hafod to Bron Afon will be completed by the end of the financial year.”

Cllr Rose Seabourne, who chaired the full council meeting and who represents the area, welcomed the update as “good news for Fairwater”.

Llantarnam independent councillor David Thomas, who had asked if the council would consider purchasing the Llanyravon Court nursing home that has been forced to close over care standards, said he was considered that building could be “allowed to deteriorate” as Ty Gwyn has.

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Plans for affordable housing at former Cwmbran care home delayed due to ‘ancient woodland’