PLANS to build business units in Ebbw Vale which could provide a boost to the economy have been given the green light by councillors.
The scheme, proposed by CRT property investments, would create 4,065 square metres of space on land off the southern end of Lime Avenue.
The application was discussed by councillors at a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday, March 3.
The plans show that five buildings would be built and then subdivided to provide 10 business units.
Buildings A, B and C would be limited to B1 use, which is for offices or light industrial use which could be conducted in any residential area.
Buildings D and E on the southern part of the site would have B2 and B8 use classification, which is for general industrial use, warehouse, storage, and distribution.
These two buildings would share a dedicated delivery yard large enough to accommodate two, 25m articulated lorry turning circles.
Blaenau Gwent planning officer Helen Hinton told councillors that an issue with the proposal is that the site is only supposed to be for B 1 and B2 use – this means that it veers away from the Local Development Plan (LDP) and becomes a “departure” appliation.
Ms Hinton said: “Allowing buildings D and E to benefit from more flexible use including B8 would not be so detrimental to undermine the wider business generation of the site or the LDP or to warrant a reason for refusal.
“It is therefore concluded, on balance, the proposed employment development is broadly in accordance with the general thrust of the LDP and the conflict with the LDP’s land use allocation is outweighed by the regeneration and economic benefits of the proposal.
“It’s therefore recommended that the application be approved subject to conditions.”
Agent, Jon Hurley of Asbri planning told the committee that timescales for the project are tight due to the need to apply for grant funding for the development.
Cllr Bernard Willis: “I would wholeheartedly support this: employment units are very much sought after in the borough, and I would suggest to get this development off the ground I would recommend (approving) this.”
Cllr John Hill said: “I’m all in favour, Blaenau Gwent has an occupancy rate of around 92 per cent, we definitely need more units.
He added there was a need to have bigger units so that starter business can expand rather than “take their growing businesses out of the borough.”
“This application will help sort out a few problems” said Cllr Hill
Cllr Derrick Bevan said: “Anything that brings work is welcome.”
Cllr David Wilkshire, while in favour of the development had concerns on not knowing what businesses would end up there, or how this would impact the nearby hospital, school, and residents.
Cllr Lisa Winnett said that the units need to have an “affordable” rent to make sure they have occupiers.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the application.