This week Welsh First Minister approved an application for the building of 365 homes on fields outside Llay. The application had been recommended for approval by Wrexham planning officers then refused after public objections by the Wrexham planning committee. The developer appealed the refusal and the planning inspector recommended approval. The final decision would normally have been made by Lesley Griffiths AM, the minister responsible for planning, but because she represents Wrexham, the First Minister acted in her place.
The Llay objections included impact on schools, healthcare and traffic as well as the legitimate planning objections that the proposal was outside of the settlement boundary and represented too much growth. The proposal includes a shop and 30% affordable housing. We admire and applaud the large campaign in Llay and look on with sadness at the final outcome.
How does that affect the Redrow appeal?
The tally of approvals on appeal by the inspector, where 'housing supply' is cited as the primary reason, in our borderlands area, is now:
597 homes approved
2 homes refused
That is a bad scorecard but the Redrow appeal is different than all of those lost on appeal, for these reasons:
1. The Flintshire planning officer recommended refusal.
The Flintshire planners reviewed all of the evidence and concluded that, for planning reasons, it should not go ahead. The planning committee agreed when they voted. In all of these other local cases, the planning officers have recommended approval and the committee have voted against them.
2. Penyffordd has been over-developed already
It is a matter of fact that the village has grown significantly (27% is the agreed figure), most of it in the last 5 years. Investment in infrastructure has not had time to keep pace.
3. It is Unsustainable
The village, through the questionnaire and individual submissions, has demonstrated the harm that has so far been caused by recent developments. The evidence has satisfied Flintshire planners that further growth on this scale is unsustainable.
4. TAN1 Clarification
Although the appeal decision has only just been released, the inquiry was in November last year, before clarification was issued on the interpretation of TAN1 - the loophole enabling these speculative developments - by Lesley Griffiths AM to planning departments, the inspectorate and developers. That clarification is not, therefore, been likely to have been considered in this appeal.
5. Place Plan
We have prepared a village Place Plan which defines how the community want the village to grow in the future - in small increments, with appropriate types of housing.
If you haven't already, please add your name to the petition to have our Plan adopted by Flintshire County Council:
What more can we do?
One of the notable comments by the inspector in Llay was in reference to the local Health and Education authorities - the Health authority did not respond to the application, they made no comment. The Education authority raised no objection. We can lobby to ensure that these statutory bodies assure us of improved services for existing and future residents in the event that the appeal is successful - their not commenting is not acceptable to anyone.
We must remain strong and continue our united objection until the inquiry in November.
Thank you for your continued support.