Newcastle defibrillator launch

Newcastle's defibrillator, the last one of the network of five installed in north Monmouthshire, is set to be officially launched before Christmas.

Newcatle defb 0284

Residents and interested parties are warmly invited to the opening ceremony on Saturday, December 22nd at 2pm to the village green where hot mince pies and punch (bring your own mug!)  will be served before the phone box will be officially dedicated as a defibrillator station.
The Village Life Project has been busy refurbishing the former BT phone box adjacent to the bus shelter so it can serve as a 'life-station' for cardiac arrest emergencies and supplement the other stations in the network; Cross Ash, Skenfrith, Maypole and Rockfield.
A collection will be made to raise money for some spring bulbs and summer wildflowers on a nearby verge, and to help support the Village Life Project, who rely upon grants and donations to fund their volunteer work. 

Tom Pitts-Tucker explained that it's important to get trained up or refresh skills. "That's a general message for the whole of Monmouthshire of course. Lots of organisations out there are available to provide CPR training. The challenge lies in changing attitudes towards more resilience and self reliance in a crisis and overcoming peoples' reluctance to get involved. Within Llangattock VA Village Life is to hand! Anyone local would be welcome at one of our informal small group training sessions.N Rockfield defibrillator

They only need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange it. We will be reinviting those who have been before for their annual refresher in due course," he added.
"The sessions are relaxed, friendly and quite sociable. They last a couple of hours, are accredited by Welsh Ambulance and result in an official certificate. Last year the Village Life Project managed to train or update about 120 people so the target  this year is 150! The tally to date since the summer has reached around 50. Our main drive will get going in the New Year, now that the work to get the two last new AEDs in place has been completed"

Details of forthcoming 'lifesaving skills' classes on how to use the machine will be posted here and on the Newcastle Facebook page

Launch of latest 'Village Life' defibrillator at Rockfield 

The Village Life Community Project, the group responsible for installing defibrillators at locations around North Monmouthshire, will be holding a launch of the latest project – a defibrillator in the refurbished telephone box at Rockfield.
The group have been able to help fund a number of the life-saving machines, installing them at various locations; in Cross Ash at the primary school; on the wall of the village hall at Skenfrith; at the Maypole and Newcastle phone boxes.
Councillors of Llangattock-vibon-avel and members of the press have been invited to attend the opening ceremony of the AED at midday on 10th November on the green at Rockfield.
The machine has been installed in the former BT phone box which has been refurbished by members of the Village Life Project and was funded by a grant from the National Grid Community Grants Scheme.
Meanwhile, the other 'Village Life' AEDs in Skenfrith, Cross Ash and the Maypole continue to be maintained and available, and the group are running their annual lifesaving skills refresher classes again this winter. They are also planning to instigate a 'help in a crisis' network of volunteers, initially in Maypole and St Maughans, who will be available through a special village emergency telephone number.
The launch will give councillors an opportunity to inspect the wayside cross at Rockfield over which some residents have expressed concern as the cross at the top has become unstable.


Community Council unable to recommend approval of proposed cider factory without more information to hand


In the absence of further information, the Community Council considers that it must recommend refusal of this application (DM/2018/00933) in its present form.

·    The extra information that is needed to judge every aspect of this application is:

·    What will be the quantity of raw materials entering the site by public highway?

·    What will be the quantity of finished product leaving the site?

·    What quantity of waste solids and liquids will be generated, and how will it be removed or processed?

·    Is there a viable business case that demonstrates long-term profitability that will reliably provide employment for several people?

·    Robust assessments by third parties as regards environmental impact and risk, and suitable, 3rd party endorsed proposals by the applicant to mitigate these factors.

This information should be provided in the form of a detailed, evidence-based document(s) drawn up by suitably qualified and experienced professionals. An accessible summary should be provided at the end of the document(s).

In addition, the height of the building is unclear form the available drawings – this makes it harder to judge the visual impact of the building.

Pending any arrival of more detailed information, the Community Council will make these comments with regard to the Monmouthshire County Council’s (MCC) Local Development Plan (LDP), and also the Welsh Assembly Government’s Planning Policy Wales (PPW), which may be subject to amendment in the light of further knowledge.


Comments Regarding the proposed site of the Application

MCC LDP - Policy LC1 New Built Development in the Open Countryside

There is a presumption against new built development in the open countryside…… new built development will only be permitted where all the following criteria are met:

a) the proposal is satisfactorily assimilated into the landscape and complies with Policy LC5;

b) new buildings are wherever possible located within or close to existing groups of buildings;

c) the development design is of a form, bulk, size, layout and scale that respects the character of the surrounding countryside; and

d) the development will have no unacceptable adverse impact on landscape, historic / cultural or geological heritage, biodiversity or local amenity value.

As regards a) and c), it is not possible to fully assess these at present, as the height of the proposed building is unknown, although as there is a need to accommodate seven metre high stainless steel cider storage tanks, it is likely to be in the region of 8 or more metres high and will be not assimilate into the open landscape of the proposed site or respect its character.  As regards, b), it can be clearly seen from the picture on page 3 of the Applicant’s report that the buildings are not within or close to existing groups of buildings, and in fact are within an area of open countryside.

As regards d), the proposed site is within the Hilston Park Registered House and Garden area.

6.5.29 of the Monmouthshire County Council LDP directs that guidance should be sought from Planning Policy Wales (PPW), Chapter 6, on such issues.

Looking at Chapter 6 of PPW Wales, it can be seen that at:

6.1.1 …. It is vital that the historic environment is appreciated, protected….

6.1.2… Historic assets are a non-renewable resource.

6.1.3 In its entirety, bold text reproduced as shown in the original document –

The historic environment is relevant to and is a vibrant part of the culture and economy of Wales. To enable the historic environment to deliver rich benefits to the people of Wales, what is of significance needs to be identified and change that has an impact on historic assets must be managed in a sensitive and sustainable way.

6.2 Objectives

....conserve and enhance the historic environment, which is a finite and non-renewable resource and a vital and integral part of the historical and cultural identity of Wales.

There is much more in a similar vein, all of which leads the Community Council to the conclusion that whatever the other merits of the proposed development, that it should be built on another site, that is not within the Hilston Park Registered Park and Garden.

The applicant’s report at 5.9, page 12, states that development is justified because many of the features…. are in a dilapidated or ruinous condition. This is tantamount to suggesting that littering is justified because a previous passer-by has already strewn an area with rubbish! If the ruinous condition is indeed true, then going back to PPW 6.4.12, local planning authorities should take account of the register of historic parks and gardens in Wales and they should develop locally specific policies that will contribute to their protection and enhancement, then MCC should be supporting and encouraging landowners to protect and enhance the historic environment, rather than sanctioning further degradation via the planning system.

The Applicants report at 5.2 states that the proposed building plot is a brownfield site containing a concrete hardstanding. The existing hardstanding may facilitate construction activities, but it does not make it a brownfield site.

MCC LDP – 3. Valuing our Environment

There are limited opportunities for brownfield development within the County’s existing urban areas.

The proposed site is not urban. In addition, accepting hardstanding as brownfield would set a dangerous precedent. It would encourage others to spread hardcore and gravel and then a few years later claim that a brownfield site existed with a presumption to gaining planning consent.

Comments around Rural Enterprise

The Community Council is supportive of sound proposals to enhance rural enterprise and create local employment.

However, not all the criteria of Policy RE3 – Agricultural Diversification are met by the proposal as it stands.

RE3 b) the proposal is supported by an appropriate business case which demonstrates the link to existing business activity and the benefits of the scheme in terms of sustaining employment / the rural economy

No business case has been published with the Planning Application. The applicant states within their Report that:

The business presently employs two full time and seasonal part time staff during harvest and processing period. The relocation to a new site and associated new facilities will allow the business to grow increasing employment to 7 full time staff and four part time staff.

However, in the absence of a business case, there is no evidence to support this assertion. Indeed, there is no evidence to show that this is a viable business proposition. Statements have been made by interested parties regarding the ownership of land adjacent to the proposed site. Ownership of the land is of no concern to the Community or County Council. However, a robust business case would demonstrate:

·         Is success of the scheme dependent on a supply of apples from the adjacent fields?

·         If this is the case, does the applicant have access to these apples, or are they unavailable, for example, by being committed to another producer by a long-term contract?

Statements have also been made by interested parties as to the ownership of the private access road leading to the proposed site of the Cider production Facility. Again, ownership of the road is of no concern, what is of concern, is if the applicant has guaranteed use of this road for a minimum of 25 years, bearing in mind the lifespan of the proposed buildings is likely to at least 50 years. Definitive evidence of a long-term right to use the access road should be included within the business case.

RE 3 f) proposals for new built development meet the detailed criteria set out in Policy LC1. Comments concerning LC1 and the unsuitability of the proposed location have already been made earlier in this document.


The Community Council is concerned that should the proposal go ahead without a sound business case, and the venture fail, that this may later give rise to contentious applications subject to RE2 d).

The Conversion or Rehabilitation of Buildings in the Open Countryside for Employment Use 

the conversion of modern farm and forestry buildings will only be permitted if the building has been used for its intended purpose for a significant period of time. Particularly close scrutiny will be given to proposals relating to buildings that are less than 5 years old, or which are known to have been used for their intended purpose for less than 5 years, and where there has been no change in farming or forestry activities on the unit since the building was erected permission may be refused

 Environmental Protection

There is no evidence as to the amounts of noise and light that are likely to be emitted from the proposed development, or any details of mitigation.

However, the Community Council trusts that the County Council will assess the potential impacts of noise and light generated by this proposal, and if the application should be granted in any form, that suitable conditions will be put in place to limit the hours and intensity of noise and light emissions. These conditions should have regard to:

MCC Policy EP3 – Lighting e)

the visual character of the built and natural environment is not unacceptably affected and dark skies are retained

and also:

PPW 13.13.1 Reducing Noise and Light Pollution

Noise can affect people’s health and well-being and have a direct impact on wildlife….. …and preserve environmental noise quality where it is good.


Waste and Fresh Water concerns

In the absence of a detailed Business Case, it is not possible to say what quantity of fresh water will enter, and what quantity of waste water, will leave the site. It is also noted that Welsh Water indicate that they have no remit on the site, and they advise that the applicant contacts Natural Resources Wales.

Again, it is trusted that after clarifying the amount of incoming/outgoing water, that the County Council will work to ensure that suitable conditions are in place should the application be granted in any form. These should have regard to:

EP1-Amenity and Environmental Protection

Development proposals that would cause or result in an unacceptable risk /harm to local amenity, health, the character /quality of the countryside or interests of nature conservation, landscape or built heritage importance due to the following will not be permitted, unless it can be demonstrated that measures can be taken to overcome any significant risk:

Air pollution; • Light pollution; • Noise pollution; • Water pollution; • Contamination; • Land instability; • Or any identified risk to public health or safety

The Community Council is especially concerned that robust measures are in place to mitigate any hazard arising from a catastrophic event causing leakage from the seven metre high stainless steel cider storage tanks (unknown capacity), and four 25,000 litre fermentation tanks.

It is noted from the applicants Report at 7.4, that:

A new package treatment plant is to be installed to manage foul drainage for the development as there is no mains drainage in the area. Modern such systems are now both odorless and also have sustainable drainage discharges with a cleaning efficiency factor of up to 99%. The discharges from this will also be managed through a soakaway.

The Community Council trusts that the County Council will confirm that “foul drainage” includes all waste water from the production process, and will set minimum, rather than “up to” conditions regarding the percentage efficiency at which it operates. Again, the Community Council is concerned that robust measures should be in place to prevent the “plant” from causing pollution due to, for example, the effects of a once in 20-year rainfall event.

The amount of fresh water that the proposed development might use is unknown at present. It is therefore impossible to determine how or if any potential additional use might adversely affect the supply to neighbouring properties. Indeed, it cannot be certain that the water supply would be adequate to support any additional development in the area. The County Council should establish that the existing water supply is adequate to support any new development without adversely affecting any existing properties nearby. The County Council should have full regard to the following when considering water in relation to new developments:

6.3.1 Strategic Policy S12 requires new development to demonstrate sustainable and efficient resource use. This includes…. water conservation/efficiency and waste reduction.


Concerns around access from the Public Highway

Access from the public highway to the proposed site is only possible along the B4347 heading south from Norton. This is a steep, narrow, road which is single track for much of its length. It is not possible for large vehicles to make the turn to White House Farm when approaching along the two-lane section of the B4347 from the south-east, past Hilston Park.

Until a detailed business case is produced, it is not possible to make an accurate estimate as to the amount of traffic that might be generated by the proposal. However, once the amount of traffic has been determined, the County Council should consider any action it might take with full regard to:

Policy MV1 – Proposed Developments and Highway Considerations All planning applications for developments which are likely to have a significant impact on trip generation and travel demand must, as appropriate, be accompanied by a Transport Assessment that includes a Transport Implementation Strategy for the development……Development that is likely to create significant and unacceptable additional traffic growth in relation to the capacity of the existing road network and / or fails to provide a safe and easy access for road users will not be permitted, unless appropriate proposals for related improvements to the highway system or a contribution towards mitigating traffic management / reduction measures are made.



Is there an amazing tree in your community that you would like to put on the map?

Could it use some 'Tree-L-C' in terms of a £1,000 tree care grant? You may have seen in the media that the Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw) is currently organising a Wales Tree of the Year competition. Nominations are currently open, until 6 August, and there will be a public vote in the autumn.

From the perspective of the Woodland Trust, it's a great way to celebrate all that trees offer to the wider community. From the perspective of a local community, it's a great way to raise the profile an important local landmark and fly the flag for the village to town. What's more, we are offering a 'Tree-L-C' grant of £1,000 to the winning tree, to be used arrange a health check from a qualified arboriculturalist, to provide interpretation or educational materials or simply just to hold a celebratory event in honour of the tree.


Is there a tree in your community you would like to nominate? Anyone can do so at

Oes yna goeden yn eich ardal chi yr hoffech chi roi ar y map? 

A fyddai'n elwa o dderbyn gofal arbennig a grant gwerth £1,000 i dalu am hyn? Mae'n bosibl eich bod chi wedi gweld yn y cyfryngau fod Coed Cadw (Woodland Trust) yn trefnu cystadleuaeth Coeden Gymreig y Flwyddyn ar hyn o bryd. Mae enwebiadau ar agor tan 6 Awst ac fe fydd yna bleidlais gyhoeddus yn yr hydref.

O safbwynt Coed Cadw mae hyn y ffordd wych i ddathlu popeth y mae coed yn gynnig i'r gymuned ehangach. O safbwynt cymuned leol, mae'n ffordd wych i godi proffeil tirnod lleol pwysig a rhoi pentref neu dref ar y map. Ar ben hyn, rydym yn cynnig grant ar gyfer gofal coed gwerth £1,000 i'r goeden fuddugol, y gellir ei ddefnyddio i dalu i arbenigwr coed roi  prawf iechyd, i ddarparu defnyddiau dehongli neu addysgiadol neu ddim ond i gynnal digwyddiad i anrhydeddu'r goeden.


Oes yna goeden yn eich cymuned yr hoffech chi ei anrhydeddu? Fe all rhywun wneud hyn o wefan









NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that MONMOUTHSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL intends to make an Order under Section 14 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, as amended, the effect of which will be to close, temporarily, to vehicles the lengths of road specified in the Schedule to this Notice.

The road closure is necessary to enable highway works to be carried out in a safe manner.

The Order will come into effect on the 15th January 2018 and will be in operation between the hours of 9:30am and 3:30pm until the 9th February 2018.

Reasonable access will be maintained for properties fronting the affected lengths of road during the period of the closure.

By virtue of Section 16(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 a person who contravenes a restriction or prohibition imposed under Section 14 of the Act shall be guilty of an offence.


A signed diversionary route will be in place as follows:

  1. on the B4347, from its junction with the Brook House to Craig road in a south-easterly direction to its junction with the B4521; then

  2. in a generally westerly direction on the B4521 to its junction with Grosmont to Cross Ash Road; then

  3. in a north-westerly direction on the Grosmont to Cross Ash road to its junction with New Inn Road; then

  4. in a north-westerly direction on New Inn Road to its junction with Grosmont Road; then

  5. in a north-easterly direction on Grosmont Road to its junction with Hand Road; then

  6. in an easterly direction on Hand Road to its junction with the B4347; then

  7. in a generally south-easterly direction on the B4347

and vice versa.

Dated: 20th December 2017


Robert Tranter
Head of Legal Services
Monmouthshire County Council
PO Box 106
NP26 9AN

Defibrillators updates

Tom Pitts-Tucker has asked us to post updates for the Village Life Community Project:

Village Life News - Autumn 2016

Village Life News – June 2016

Village Life News - March-2016

Village Life News - February 2016