CONTROVERSIAL plans for half a dozen Traveller pitches have been narrowly approved.
The plans, for six pitches on land at Huntley Yard in Chester Road, Flint, were approved by 10 votes to seven at a meeting of Flintshire Council's planning committee yesterday.
Many concerns were raised about the scheme – with several councillors expressing grave worries about highway safety, the risk of flooding and the location of the site.
Cllr Rita Johnson, the local member, said: “There’s little, if any, support for this proposal from local residents. Access to this site is provided by a narrow humped bridge with no pedestrian pavements.
“There will be children there some times and there needs to be consideration for them.”
Speaking about the location of the site, which lies close to a water treatment plant, Cllr Johnson said: “Is this conducive to pleasant living?"
The application, lodged by Simon Doherty, received four letters of objection from members of the public, with Flint Town Council also objecting.
Speaking at the meeting, Alan Jones, whose business Jones Motors is close to the site, said: “This site is unsuitable for living. Had the application been for housing, it would be refused."
Flint’s Cllr Dave Cox expressed his fears over flooding.
He said: “Our climate is changing and we have seen all our low lying areas are at risk, including where the location of this current planning application is proposed.
“It would be a risk if we approve this application.”
Council officers said the site was not in the designated floodplain and environmental organisation Natural Resources Wales had no objections.
They also stated that no highways issues had been raised.
Despite the opposition voiced, councillors approved the application.
Mold councillor Chris Bithell, who voted to approve the plan, said: “We can turn this down but in six weeks time we’ll be in an inquiry and we’ll lose.
“It will be the general taxpayers who will have to pay for it.
“There will be traffic emanating from this site but it has been used for business purposes before.”
Ewloe councillor Alison Halford added: “Flintshire Council must provide more pitches and we can’t get away from that stark fact.
“This isn’t an ideal site but if we refuse it we will be punished by having sites at locations which may be less palatable.”
Councillors also made reference to Flintshire Council’s need for 36 new pitches in the county by 2016 – a target set by the Welsh Government.