Plans to create 30 apartments on the site of an arson-hit social club have been approved, despite the design being compared to a mausoleum.
Proposals to create an affordable development for over 55s on land which used to be home to the Albion social club in Connah’s Quay were previously deferred.
Flintshire Council’s planning committee put the scheme on hold in December because of concerns over the design and the impact the new building would have on the privacy of neighbours.
Nearby resident Kay Evans spoke against the application by the Pennaf Housing Group for a second time at a meeting at County Hall this afternoon.
She raised issues with the lack of parking included in the plans and said it would clash with the Grade II listed St Mark’s Church.
Speaking at County Hall in Mold, she said: “I have previously represented the voices of 63 members of my community and outlined their concerns.
“Lack of local parking provision, overspill parking and subsequent local impact remains unresolved.
“The proposal contravenes residents’ entitlement to a reasonable degree of privacy.
“Having up to 52 windows overlooking properties does not afford the right to private enjoyment of homes and committees. ”
[Albion social club in Connah’s Quay]
During December’s meeting councillors decided to ask the Design Commission for Wales for a second opinion on the application.
However, its chief executive agreed with council officers that the proposals should be given the green light.
Speaking on behalf of the housing group at the latest meeting, planning agent Ben Thornley said: “When our scheme came to committee previously the application was deferred to allow views to be sought from both The Design Commission for Wales and Cadw.
“The local authority has now completed this task. Cadw have declined to comment and the Design Council for Wales has responded positively supporting the proposed development.
“The development before you is for 30 affordable apartments for older people who are presently living in homes in the area which are unsuitable for their needs.
“This type of specialist accommodation is in high demand across the country, in Flintshire and specifically in Connah’s Quay.”
The current building has been plagued by anti-social behaviour in recent years, including a deliberate fire in August 2017.
An application to build 33 apartments on the site was approved in 2016, but the company behind the previous scheme went into liquidation.
Among those who spoke strongly against the new plans was Cllr Patrick Heesom (Ind) who said the developers should be ‘shown the door’.
He said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the clash between what is being proposed here and the character of that area is very significant.
“A lot of this stuff is not just opinion. The fact of the matter is what makes good design is measurable.
“They’ve shown no acknowledgement of the area in which it’s located, it’s just like a slab mausoleum for goodness sake.
“We’ll be regretting it until the day we’re kicking the bucket if we have to accept that thing.”
At the end of the debate councillors voted to approve the proposals by a narrow margin.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).