Design Commission Welcomes Rejection of Abergavenny Development but Urges Local Planners to Cooperate More Effectively on any Future Plans

DCFW has welcomed the decision by developer Henry Boot not to appeal the refusal of planning for the proposed redevelopment of the Abergavenny cattle market. In light of the decision, the Commission now urges the Local Planning Authority and the main landowner Monmouthshire County Council, to fundamentally review its strategy for the redevelopment of this important site close to the heart of this historic market town.

Carole-Anne Davies, Chief Executive, Design Commission for Wales, said, “I am pleased this deeply flawed proposal will not now be built and the decision to refuse stands.

“If it were based on sound and sustainable design principles, this site has enormous potential for redevelopment. It has the potential to create a vibrant new quarter that will enhance the quality of life for existing residents of the town; create new opportunities for local business and provide much needed new homes.

“We ask the local authority to now take advantage of this opportunity to work with the developer to secure a first class mixed use scheme that meets good urban design standards and includes an appropriate retail element supported by appropriate transport and parking provision.”

According to the Design Commission, any new proposals for development should be based on well established urban design principles. These should include:

  • A rich mix of uses including homes, workplaces, shops and cultural facilities
  • A well conceived public realm offering clear, legible pedestrian and vehicle circulation well integrated with the existing network of streets and public spaces
  • Buildings of a scale and character appropriate to their setting that incorporate best practice in low carbon, environmentally responsible design, meeting the requirements of policy in Wales.

Carole-Anne Davies, added, ”I want to make it clear the Design Commission is not opposed in principle to the inclusion of supermarkets in town centre redevelopment proposals, but it cannot support proposals that are dominated by large retail sheds and extensive surface car parking. Such dominance was a major characteristic of the original proposal.
“The recent history of proposals for this site is highly unsatisfactory. The planning authority seems uninterested in realising the best long-term value from this site for the town and its community. To date there has been no evidence of a clear vision for the town’s development and little appetite to engage in meaningful discussions with either the local community or the Commission.

“We hope Monmouthshire will not now engage in further protracted and closed discussions with a developer to produce a modified scheme which might be accepted, but only reluctantly, by the planning committee.

“This is a golden opportunity to start afresh. A positive first step would be to engage in a broad, open but expeditious process to establish a strategic vision for the site. The Design Commission would welcome the opportunity to play a key role in helping facilitating this.”