Today has been a busy day for planning in Flintshire.
- TAN1 has been suspended
- Dobshill 24 affordable homes approved
- 36 Retirement apartments on Rhos Road deferred
- Spons Green and Megs Lane applications in Buckley both refused
Prior to the last planning committee meeting before summer, the Minister, Lesley Griffiths AM/AC wrote to all heads of planning with a letter including this statement about TAN1:
"As a result of the current housing land supply position across Wales some Local Planning Authorities are receiving ‘speculative’ applications for housing on sites not allocated for development in LDPs. This is generating uncertainty for communities and is to the detriment of the plan-led system. Therefore, in support of the review and to alleviate some of the immediate pressure on LPAs, I have decided to dis-apply paragraph 6.2 of Technical Advice Note (TAN1), Joint Housing Land Availability Studies, following the consultation on this matter. This removes the paragraph which refers to attaching ‘considerable’ weight to the lack of a 5 year housing land supply as a material consideration in determining planning applications for housing.
As a result of the dis-application of paragraph 6.2 of TAN1, it will be a matter for decision makers to determine the weight to be attributed to the need to increase housing land supply where an LPA has a shortfall in its housing land.
The dis-application of paragraph 6.2 of TAN1 takes effect from 18thJuly, 2018. The planning applications affected will include all those which have been made but not determined by the relevant authority. The disapplication will not apply to planning applications where it has been resolved to approve subject to the signing of a section 106 agreement."
As expected, the Dobshill council houses have been approved - these have been widely supported by the community following changes and assurances from the developers.
The 36 retirement apartment application was to be decided at committee today with a recommendation for approval, but has been deferred following this morning's update from the minister.
The dis-application of TAN1 should enable Flintshire to comfortably refuse permission on the Vounog application, but we await an update from the planning authority.
As far as the fights against developments on Chester Road, Hawarden Road and Rhos Road are concerned, it's too late. The law is like a guillotine, whatever the law is on decision day, that is the law as it will be applied - we can't backdate the decision. The Minister COULD have waiting, knowing the strength of evidence OR it was within the Minister's powers to suspect TAN1 on the 10th May without consultation, but she did neither of these things and the consequences will last forever. Worth remembering when you next vote.
Lesley Griffiths is part of our Welsh Labour government for reference and represents a Wrexham constituency.