A DECISION on converting a Cardigan house contaminated by a petrol leak from an underground pipe was deferred at the last minute when it was realised a council committee was not quorate.

Cardigan county councillor John Adams-Lewis had called for the development control committee to defer an application by the local authority to convert Norwood, on Morgan Street, into two flats for temporary, move-on or supported accommodation until environmental health and legal matters were resolved.

A roll call had been carried out to check there were enough councillors present for valid proceedings – with the required 11 still in attendance towards the end of three and half hour meeting – but when it came to the vote one member abstained having missed some of the discussion.

This rendered the vote inquorate and the matter was deferred to the next meeting.

Cllr Adams-Lewis said that a pipe from a petrol tank underneath the lane next to Norwood had been leaking and the contamination had forced the family that lived there for mroe than 20 years out of their home, with the “stench” also affecting the property next door.

“It’s been a massive problem for many years. Solicitors of the two parties, Ceredigion County Council and the garage owner, are arguing about the problems that exist in the lane,” he added, saying he understood the council had now bought the property but the problem still exists.

He said allowing permission now would be “putting the cart in front of the horse.”

Cllr Bryan Davies, seconded by Cllr Ceredig Davies, had moved the recommendation of approval ‘in principle’ with no occupation of the flats until the environmental matters were resolved.

The committee heard that the environmental health department had already started work on decontaminating the house.

There was support for deferring the application from other councillors including Cllr Dai Mason who said he was “surprised” work had started and Cllr Wyn Thomas who said it was “inevitable” that it be deferred, adding he would be happy to approve it after environmental work was finished.

The argument was whether it should remain a family home or be turned into flats, which the town council objects to, should also be considered, said Cllr Lyndon Lloyd.

Discussion of the application will resume at next month’s development control meeting.