Anyone who has attended the public meetings in the village or followed the updates on planning applications affecting the village, will know that the reason that developers are able to submit applications on fields outside the village is because of a 'loophole'. The loophole is still there, but it has been made a little smaller following clarification from the Welsh Minister responsible.
Quick summary of the loophole: Planning Policy Wales (PPW) requires every local authority to have a Local 'plan' Flintshire's Unitary Development Plan (UDP) ran up to 2015. Their new Local Development Plan (LDP) won't be ready until late 2019. In the absence of a plan, there is a Technical Advice Note (TAN1) in PPW which assumes in favour of development. TAN1 has been used repeatedly to get applications through that would otherwise be refused.
The wording of TAN1 leaves it open to interpretation and we have been campaigning to have it changed. We have met with Mark Tami MP and he has written on our behalf, we have met with Flintshire Planning Officers and they have written their own documents requesting changes, we have met with Carl Sargeant AM, our Assembly Member and he has written on our behalf. And we have repeatedly written to Lesley Griffith AC/AM, the minister responsible and to the First Minister requesting changes.
We have now received a number of responses regarding the same action.
The Welsh Minister has written to all of the Heads of Planning in Wales: http://gov.wales/docs/desh/publications/170223delivery-of-affordable-housing-through-the-planning-system-en.pdf
We have received similar wording directly from the minister:
So in summary, nothing in the policy wording has changed. There is pressure on local authorities to build houses, particularly affordable homes, BUT for the first time this additional wording has been used in all of the correspondence
"this includes ensuring development proposals do not lead to unacceptable impacts on local economic, social and environment infrastructure."
This gives us cause to be optimistic, given the weight of evidence submitted from the village about the harm being cause by rapid overdevelopment.