There has been some debate on village Facebook pages about why we are trying to 'Save our Village' and questioning what is wrong with development and improvements to the village?
No one involved in this group has any objection to planned growth or improvements to the village and the facilities in the village - quite the opposite. But, there is a huge problem with planning policies right now.
In Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government have a policy of development based on 'Local Development Plans'. These LDPs take into account the need for housing of every type along with business, jobs, transport, health, schooling, the environment and so on. The idea is that each community grows in a planned way with everything taken into account.
When local authorities develop their plan, they consult with the community and other stakeholders and we end up with a plan. At the moment, Flintshire are writing their plan. The last one covered the period 2000 - 2015. The next one is not now expected to be ready until 2019.
With no plan in place, and because of a technicality about needing a 5-year supply of housing, right now developers are able to make applications for developments anywhere. The local boundary can be ignored. The limits on the size of developments can be ignored.
Pen-y-ffordd and Penymynydd are threatened because of where they are. From a developers point of view, our villages are ideally located to sell houses. Good commuter links, close to Chester and Wrexham, commutable to Manchester, Liverpool and Llandudno. We are in the country but with the facilities at Broughton, with nearby supermarkets, a good high school and everything you can need. All the reasons we enjoy living here.
Flintshire have already ignored their own policies to allow the developments we already have in the village. In the last plan, Pen-y-ffordd was designated as a Category B settlement (Category A is urban, like Mold and Buckley, Category C is smaller villages like Dobshill and Kinnerton). The growth limit for us was 8 - 15%. Right now we have grown 31%. If the next 2 developments are allowed, that increases to 46% and we have 3 more years before we have protection for the LDP!
We welcome the residents of the new developments at Meadowslea, Redrow White Lion and Taylor Wimpey - in reality almost everyone in the village is living in what was a new development at some point in the last 3 decades! In fact it is important that everyone in the village speaks up because the facilities we share cannot keep up with the housing development and our quality of lives is affected. Specifically for our villages:
- drainage and waste problems already
- lack of water pressure
- lack of internet capacity
- lack of school places
- no doctor and no capacity at nearby doctors
- transport for people without cars
- things to do for young people
- Spar access and parking
- traffic volume and noise
- housing for the elderly and the young
The village will always grow, it needs to. It will need development, but it needs to be planned. It needs to consider the infrastructure and facilities. Flintshire C.C. have their own priorities. As a group we are following the lead from Gwernymynydd and Mold communities who have devised their own plan for the improvement of their village - taking everything into account - and that is what we are trying to do. Create a document that represents the collective voice of the community.
The finished plan will help to guide the Community Council, the Planners at Flintshire and developers about what the village needs and wants. We expect to work WITH developers in the future in order to help them to have an easier route to development, by ensuring that what they are planning fits with the community plan.
We would encourage everyone to use their voice to share their ideas, concerns, suggestions and needs via this site - we are listening and want to reflect the real views of the whole community.