Housing plan breaches council's own guidelines


Owen Evans

MORE than 100 residents have expressed concerns over a new homes plan recommended for approval.

An application by Anwyl Homes for 41 properties on agricultural land close to Old Hall Road and Greenhill Avenue in Hawarden, which goes against Flintshire Council’s own planning guidelines, has been met with strong objections from councillors and residents.

Both local members – Ewloe councillors Alison Halford and Dave Mackie – have lodged concerns about the plan which lies outside of the village settlement boundary in Flintshire’s Unitary Development Plan.

However, planning officer Emma Hancock said: “In this instance, it is considered that the material consideration is the need for a five-year land supply which outweighs the fact the site is outside the settlement boundary in the development plan.”

A total of 114 letters of objection were submitted with the matter set to be discussed by Flintshire’s planning committee on Wednesday.
Cllr Mackie said: “I object to these proposals because the site is outside the settlement boundary, is not included in the Unitary Development Plan and because new housing in Ewloe has increased by 18.3 per cent and so already exceeds the permitted maximum of 15 per cent.”

Hawarden Community Council also lodged objections on the same grounds.
A range of different objections were sent by members of the public, many of which echoed those raised by Cllrs Mackie and Halford.

Resident James Dathan said: “The planning officers have admitted they do not want to recommend the build but have to due to the formula they work to for needing new houses.
“The residents are outraged at the possibility the council will even consider breaking their own policy when other opportunities are available.
“The decision should have been thrown out immediately so the fact that the planning department is likely to approve, albeit handcuffed by their own red tape, is ridiculous.”

Residents have raised concerns about potential increases in crime and highway safety. They also fear public services will suffer and residential amenities in the surrounding area will be negatively affected.
A petition with 135 signatures from local residents was also submitted against the plan consisting of predominantly detached two, three, four, and five-bedroom properties.

In the report, Ms Hancock said: “The 15 per cent growth level for Ewloe has already been exceeded as a result of completions alone (15.8 per cent).
“The combined growth rate for Ewloe taking into account completions and commitments is 18.1 per cent and by incorporating the application site would increase the growth rate to 19.8 per cent.
“Although this is higher than the scenario considered by the Inspector at the time of the UDP inquiry, it is still not clear that this level of growth would be harmful given the Inspector’s comments about the settlement and the site.
“The council does not wish to set a precedent for any windfall sites to come forward outside settlement boundaries however, it is considered that there are a special set of circumstances in relation to the planning history of the site.”

Councillors have also been asked that any planning permission is time-limited to begin within two years to ensure land supply shortfall is met in the short term.
The report added it was not considered that the plan would have a detrimental impact on highways.

In order to ease pressure on nearby schools, if the plan is approved the applicant would be expected to pay £122,520 to Ysgol Penarleg in Ewloe and £129,283 to Hawarden High.

See full story in the Leader

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