Extraordinary meeting December 14th 2016



Minutes of a Community Council Meeting held at the Neuadd Eleanor, Llanfair D C on Wednesday 14 December 2016 at 6.00 pm.  This meeting was convened to consider the Council’s second response  to the proposed development of 63 houses on land off Wrexham Road, Llanfair D C by PURE Residential & Commercial Limited, New Vision House, New Vision Business Park, Glascoed Road, St Asaph LL17 0LP.  Observations on the application have to be forwarded to Denbighshire County Council’s Planning and Public Protection Department by Friday 23 December 2016.

PRESENT – Councillors John Pugh [Chair], Steve Whipp [Vice-Chair], David Baker, Dennis Edwards, Tim Faire, Jayne Mayers, Keith Moulsdale and Medwen Roberts, together with Eirwen Godden, Clerk.

IN ATTENDANCE –  Twenty residents together with Councillor Hugh H Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council.

 APOLOGIES – Councillors Wini Davies and Rosanne Jarvis.

274  Planning Application 20/2016/1137

Councillor John Pugh, Chair of the Community Council, welcomed everyone to the meeting explaining that this was an opportunity for local residents to have their say which would inform the Council’s response on the full planning application submitted.  A Senior Planning Officer had agreed to meet with representatives of the Community Council once the responses were collated.  Councillor Pugh proceeded to facilitate a discussion on a question and answer basis.

It was noted that a meeting had been organised by two local residents on 8 December 2016 to allow concerned residents to discuss the development proposals.  Forty people were present at that meeting.

274.1  Questions and/or Comments made by Residents and Responses from the Chair

 [i]  Opposition -Two residents at the Council meeting made it clear that they opposed the development on the basis of inadequate infrastructure, no evidence of more housing needed, and that more traffic, walkers and cyclists would be generated.  They suggested that the housing development could be located on the old school site when the new school has been built.

[ii]  Housing Need – A report was commissioned some time ago with regard to the development of 15 houses which did not go ahead.  It was felt that a new up to date survey was required now.  New housing is needed but there are too many houses on the proposed site, there is no connection to the present village and no identified pedestrian links between both sites.  There is a range of properties on the site but there is a need to know what the demand is locally for different types  of homes and whether, for instance, families need three bed houses. It was noted that the developer should have carried out some research in this respect.

A resident asked whether the developer could build more expensive houses leaving out cheaper housing.  The Chair stated that this is not possible, there has to be a mix available as shown per the proposal.

[iii]  Affordable Housing – Questions were raised with regard to who would manage, allocate homes, would they be let to local people and whether local people could in fact buy.  The definition of affordable housing is complex but the 30% rule has been reduced to 10% for building schemes.  If more are included in a scheme then the Local Authority could have an option of using developer commuted funds to enable this to happen.  Affordable housing has to be managed by social landlords, whether it is the Local Authority or a Housing Association which may have different policies to adhere to.  Each will have a waiting list and people from the area rather than elsewhere should ideally be given priority according to need.

[iv]  Design  Issues – A resident considers that flats are not in keeping with other properties in the village.  Another view expressed is that planners are not taking into account comments already made about poor design generally, that it does not accord with many aspects, being barely appropriate at all.  For example, the frontage should be of better quality and more in keeping with the area.  It was pointed out that the developer will build to price whatever happens.

[v]  Retail Outlet – A query was raised regarding the possibility of a retail outlet on the site.  There used to be a shop in the village in the past.  Reference was made to a thriving community shop at Pwllglas but the venture is run by volunteers and grants are needed.  The volunteers have to be totally committed in order to be successful.

[vi]  Traffic – There is concern that vehicular access is only onto the A525 – there should be alternative access available.  Local Authority experts state that the road is not too dangerous.  Traffic will increase as it is a major road over which there is no control but steps could be taken to control speed.  A 20 mph speed should be made mandatory.  The Community Council has actively campaigned for this to be applied in the past.  Pedestrian access through the existing housing estate will affect those residents but it would be up to the developer to solve any problems to do with access.

[vii]  Infrastructure/School – A question was asked whether the proposed development is viable for the school.  The developer would have had to take into account additional capacity during the design stage with regard to, for example, a new school and sewerage facilities.  However, the Leader pointed out that the school development and current housing development are separate issues.  The proposal for a new school remains, capacity has been catered for, and the land included in the Local Development Plan.  The Local Authority is expected to build 7,500 new homes in Denbighshire.

The present school is built on land owned by the Church in Wales which has to be sold for a commercial price.

[viii]  Gas Tanks – A resident stated that it would have been better for the village to be joined up with the mains gas only half a mile away and would be beneficial to the school as well.  This was considered to be a missed opportunity adding that residents may be prepared to pay.  It was felt that the developer could easily add the cost to the development.

The Chair stated that this matter was brought up some 15 years ago when Pentrecelyn applied for mains gas and sewerage but residents were informed that they would have to pay for these services themselves.  Such a cost has to be viable for a developer.  However, for this new development the cost of maintaining drains and gas tanks will lie with the developer.  If the developer goes out of business there is a bond in place to cover the cost.  The point about joining up with the mains gas will be added onto the list for consideration by the planners.

[ix]  Open Space –  There is concern about its location on site, proximity to the main road and whether it is safe for ball games.   All were reminded that the open space needs to be accessible to everyone in the community, including children.   It was suggested that the open space area be moved to a more central location on the site to be overlooked by the houses.  The drainage area, however, needs to be sited as planned.  The new school will also have its own community space as an additional resource.

[x]  Residents’ Views – As the majority of residents are tenants, concern was expressed that the Local Authority will ignore their views.  The Chair referred to the report on consultation submitted by PURE, clause 3.1 – it is not a case of the applicant disregarding the comment, rather, following consideration their view is that an amendment is not in the circumstances appropriate.  This, in view of the Chair, says they will ignore anything they do not agree with.  This matter will be brought up with the Senior Planning Officer.

The Chair stressed the importance of deciding how to go forward, for example, on the basis that the scale of development is too much, pedestrian access and links need to be addressed.  Anything technical has to be seen to, for example, drainage, tanks, sewerage and confirmation is required that flooding will not occur.

The Leader commented that it is important that local people are not worse off than they are now.  They need to consider what will make a difference, what will be the golden issue that will stop dangerous roads and making them really safe.  Furthermore, they need to determine what they can and cannot get out of the development.

[xi]  Timetable –  The expiry date for responses is 23 December 2016.  After that the application may be considered by members of the Planning Committee sometime towards the middle of January 2017.  [NOTE FOR THE MINUTES –  Since the meeting the Community Council received information on 16 December 2016 that the deadline for responses had been changed to 11 January 2017 by the Planning Department and that the earliest the development proposals could go before the Planning Committee was February 2017].

274.2  Conclusion and Consensus

[a]  The proposed development is too large, residents want a village setting not a town

[b]  There must be pedestrian access into the village other than onto the A525

[c]  Quality of design and technical issues regarding infrastructure, gas, water and drainage need to be addressed

[d]  Affordable housing needs to be aligned to community demand

[e]  Natural environment and local wildlife – not enough account has been taken of comments already submitted.  If specific habitat is needed for certain species based on evidence the Local Authority will need to be reminded of this including balances required

[f]  Open space should be relocated to the centre of the site, away from the A525.

There being no other business the Chair thanked everyone for attending and declared the meeting closed at 7.10 pm.

275  DATE OF NEXT COUNCIL MEETING – Wednesday 4 January 2017