So last week Redrow submitted a new plan for Chester Road. You might have received or seen a letter from Flintshire County Council about the process.
The letter explains that if you have written an objection already, then that objection will be considered by the planners and committee as long as the reason is still valid after the changes. The wording of the letter suggests that if you send a new objection now, then the old one will be discarded.
So the first thing is to know what has changed:
DESIGN AND LAYOUT
There are different house types and details, but they do not significantly change the application.
Now 186 houses (not 190)
Now 27 affordable homes - 15% (up from 19 / 10%)
Now 90 4-bedroom houses (down from 119)
New road layout which leaves open the possibility of opening through to Hazel Drive or Kent Close (it was just Hazel Drive previously).
The existing footpath off Hulley's Close is now more direct through the development.
A pedestrian access has been added through to both Hazel Drive and Kent Close.
New Boundary Fence. Now wire fencing.
PUBLIC OPEN SPACE
Reworked Public Open Space (POS) - which is slightly better for some of the existing houses affected but there does appear to be less of it overall in the revised plan.
If you have objected previously you can (and should) object again.
If you referred to any of the things that have changed, then you need to object again to be heard at all.
You are objecting to Flintshire County Council planning department - via their website ideally (the application number is 055590):
We also need to get noisy again and make sure that everyone involved knows how strongly we feel about it. These are the people involved:
The Planning Committee
They decide, by vote, whether to approve or reject an application. They are all elected councillors from across the county. They will come and visit the site the week before the committee date (which could be the 22nd March) - it is good to demonstrate when they come, to show how we feel about it. The committee are not our enemy, many of them sympathise with our position. You can (and should) write to them to tell them how you feel but they will not reply with their opinion because they are not allowed to.
The planning department are professional planners who understand planning law and planning policy. They process planning applications, advise developers if any part of the application does not comply with policy or law. They make a recommendation to the Planning Committee about whether an application should be approved - but the committee does not have to follow their advice. The planning officer responsible for this application is Alan Wells. The two senior managers in the planning department who deal with applications and policy are Andy Roberts and Andrew Farrow. We strongly believe that they should be recommending refusal to the committee
- because with the growth the village has experienced in recent years makes more housing unsustainable
- because we believe that we are suffering 'displaced housing from Cheshire' and that the Unitary Development Plan has a policy to protect against that
- because we believe that Planning Policy Wales protects against 'Prematurity' where big decisions should be taken as part of the Local Development Plan process. The ultimate boss at Flintshire is Colin Everett the CEO. We have been making sure he knows how strongly we feel too.
Welsh Assembly Government
The minister responsible is Lesley Griffiths AM. It is clear that part of Planning Policy Wales, Technical Advice Note 1 (TAN1) is ambiguous and therefore open to abuse by developers seeking to build on the most lucrative land - this is one of those cases. Carl Sargeant AM is our representative in Cardiff, we have met with him and he has written to the Minister on our behalf to ask for clarification of TAN1. We need as many people as possible to write to the Assembly - this is very important.
IF the planning committee refuse the application or refer it to Cardiff, then an independent planning inspector will review the case and make a decision (as happened in Higher Kinnerton last month). They view the ` is isolation and consider all the evidence and objections before making a decision.
Planning is fully devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government so there is no direct role for our Westminster MP, Mark Tami MP, but we have met with him and he has also written to Lesley Griffiths AM on our behalf asking for a review of TAN1.
In summary, we need as many people to object as possible.
Object for planning reasons - see the list of policies here or read our original objections document.
Object noisily about the impact on the village, the services, the experience of living here, how it affect you personally and why you believe it is not sustainable.
Object about the direct impact on you if your property is a neighbour - not on loss of value or loss of view, but on privacy, being overlooked, noise or disturbance.
Do this on the Flintshire Planning portal.
Then write to all of the planning committee - don't be abusive - they are decision makers, doing their job and are not our enemy.
Write to the planning officers and let them know how you feel.
Write to Welsh Assembly government or Carwyn Jones, the first minister.
We all need to get noisy right now!
OBJECTIONS DEADLINE IS MONDAY 13th MARCH
CHESTER ROAD TRAFFIC / ROAD SAFETY
You may have objected because of concerns over the safety and capacity of the junction at the top of Chester Road. Right now there are roadworks underway (due to be completed in 10 days) which we understand will bring safety improvements to the junction including lighting. The work is being paid for by the Welsh Government and the fact that it has started just as the Redrow amendments were submitted is unrelated but still relevant.