So this is a question that comes up now and again.
This is why there has been a lot of opposition to the Redrow Chester Road application...
1. The Village Infrastructure can't cope
Depending on where you live in the village, you will suffer from low water pressure, overflowing drains, slow internet, traffic congestion, Spar car parking and other problems. The pipework in Penymynydd was designed for a couple of dozen houses, not hundreds. The infrastructure hasn't kept up. Investment is needed.
2. Community Spirit is at risk
This is difficult to define, but lots of people who have lived in the village for a long time believe that the community spirit is disappearing. This village is an amazing example of what everyone would look for in a community. It is safe (relatively), quiet, close to everything you could wish for, you can ask for help from neighbours, there are clubs, societies and well attended public events. The pubs and shops are thriving.
The village is alive and healthy - mostly. But it is wilting under the strain of recent development. As welcome as new residents are to the community, it is difficult for them to integrate into the community when they can't get their children into the village schools and the new developments are bolted on in one quick development - over 350 houses and 1,000 people in 5 years or less. The new school is planned for 2019 and will increase the number of places to hopefully accommodate all the children in the village TODAY - it will not significantly increase capacity beyond that.
3. But we need houses!
It is true that there is a need for some new housing for people to move within the village - for the young to get their first home and for others to downsize or upsize. Planning permission has already been granted for 40 more houses on Rhos Road and also 5 houses on Melrose Close. The council are planning new affordable homes in Dobshill and a small number in Penyffordd and the new school will release some land on Penymynydd road.
Flintshire has a wait list for affordable homes, but the forecast population growth is only 3% - Penyffordd has grown 29% in less than 10 years. The Redrow proposal is nothing to do with housing need, this isn't London.
4. The Principle - it is wrong
The biggest one - the principle of development. It is only possible for this application to even be considered because of a loophole. Welsh planning policy is based on a 'local plan'. The local plan defines how many houses are needed over 15 years and how they should be distributed across all the settlements in Flintshire. At the moment there is no plan, so developers can pick any land and try and get permission to build. They choose the prime sites (like the one in Higher Kinnerton and Chester Road) and use the lack of a plan as a reason to build. It's a loophole and it's wrong. This is the countryside, filled with wildlife and has previously dismissed as potential housing site three times before.
We have lobbied very hard on this point and got support from Carl Sargeant AM, Mark Tami MP and from the Flintshire planning department. Most recently the Welsh Minister has written to all planning officers and to developers to try and reduce the number of these speculative applications.
5. The Village Provided the Proof
The questionnaire we sent out before Christmas generated a huge response - nearly 800 replies - and 80% of them asked for no more growth. There was lots of evidence there about the harm being suffered across the village and Flintshire are listening - thank you to everyone who took the time to fill it in - it has helped a huge amount.
So that's it - right now, we are finishing our own Community Plan which will set out where development might be possible in the coming years - we are not NIMBY's and we need to be realistic - but we would like to wait for Flintshire to complete their plan before we accept any more development.
WHAT YOU CAN DO...
Please print the SAVE OUR VILLAGE poster and put it in your window for Monday. If you can, please come and show your support when the Planning Committee visit at 10:00am on Monday or go to County Hall for committee on Wednesday at 1:00pm.