Posted: Sat 25th Nov 2023

Buckley: Concerns over land contamination and flooding puts 140 house development plans on hold

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Nov 25th, 2023

Councillors have deferred an outline planning application for up to 140 houses in Buckley due to concerns over flooding, potential contamination, and highway access.

At a Flintshire Council Planning Committee (Wednesday, November 22) the application submitted by Clwyd Alyn Housing Ltd for land at Well Street in Buckley saw concerns raised by members.

The outline application for a residential development of up to 140 dwellings with associated means of access, open space, sustainable drainage infrastructure and all other associated works, was recommended to be granted, subject to conditions.

Conditions included:

-Contributions required would be £330,939.00 towards improvements to Southdown CP school
-Payment of £1,100.00 per dwelling ( £733.00 per affordable dwelling) in lieu of on-site provision. The payment would be used to enhance existing play area at The Flash park, Bistre
-Scheme to ensure that the Affordable dwellings remain affordable in perpetuity and at an appropriate tenure.
-A sum of £14k to cover the cost of advertising and implementing future traffic regulation orders.

The plans have seen concerns raised however, and during the meeting, councillors heard from a local resident who highlighted issues with the site, including potential contamination and flooding in the area.

In a passionate address to the planning committee, Peter Newby who lives close to the proposed development said the land is “friable, unstable, not suitable for soils, prone to flooding, contaminated with toxic gas and a possible mine waste dump.”

He said building houses on it would be ‘dangerous to the workforce, occupants, future generations with the land so contaminated.’

Mr Newby said noise from the site will affect farm animals and loss of habitat protected species.

“Contamination can be mitigated but not 100%. Putting in future generations at risk on valuable green space.” He said.

A statement was read out from Buckley Town Council, which said residents were concerned about flood risks and phosphates in the soil due to past industrial works, along with the drainage of the site and volume of traffic on surrounding roads for pedestrians.

In total 235 objections were submitted in response to the proposed development.

The objections predominantly focused on issues like traffic safety and impact, pollution, land contamination, ecological impacts, lack of local infrastructure, incongruity with the local area, and encroachment into the countryside​​.

Agent for Clwyd Alyn Housing Peter Lloyd said all the concerns neighbours have raised “are alleviated through the supporting suite of documents and reports which ensure technical matters including contamination, biodiversity, heritage, access design and highways capacity are fully resolved and understood.”

A report submitted with the planning application addresses existing concerns around land contamination, specifically elevated levels of lead in shallow topsoil, and to ensure the safe redevelopment of the site.

The report notes an ‘absence of asbestos, petroleum hydrocarbons, and poly aromatic hydrocarbons’ in the area comes, but the presence of lead poses a significant challenge.

The proposed strategy includes comprehensive measures to mitigate lead risks through soil management and installation of cover systems.

These steps are vital for ensuring the safety of future residents, particularly in areas where direct exposure to contaminated soil is possible.

Furthermore, assessments have revealed ‘low risks to controlled waters’, with Zinc and TPH C5-6 identified in certain areas and Methylphenol presence in groundwater samples.

The southwestern area of the site is within an intermediate probability radon area where 5-10% of homes will be affected. The remainder of the site is considered to be in a lower probability area whereby 1% of homes will be affected. Basic radon protective measures may be necessary within the site.

The presence of coal seams has been confirmed, but with no evidence of historic mine workings, instability risks are minimal.

The report outlines specific objectives for the remediation and enabling works, with a primary aim to prepare the site for an optimum foundation solution for structures, infrastructure, and highways. This approach is designed to ensure that the redevelopment process is both ‘safe and cost-effective.’

Speaking against the application, Cllr Carolyn Preece (Lab) whose ward the development is in said: “Insufficient evidence has been provided to identify the very exceptional circumstances necessary to justify inappropriate development within an area of open countryside and an area of green barrier.”

“There is already a full application for this site with more information and very different plans to this one. Even so, the proposals would result in a form of unsustainable development, which would cause unacceptable harm to the open countryside, purpose and the function of the green barrier in this location.”

Buckley has been overdeveloped for the last 10 years and the infrastructure under-resourced.”

She said there is an unacceptable risk of flooding for it to be considered suitable for residential use.”

“Planning applications in the past for this site have been withdrawn or refused. There have already been four floods this year alone.

Cllr Hilary McGuill (Lib Dem) for Argoed and New Brighton – raised concerns around the access and how it will affect Rose Lane, which she said has no footpath and is “extremely narrow”. She said the drainage ditches were also raised as they “take quite a bit of water” off the field and if not maintained properly issues will arise which could cost the council.

A site meeting had been conducted, which Cllr McGuill was unable to attend, but she had asked the bus to go down the lane to demonstrate her concerns, which they did.

Cllr Dan Rose for Buckley: Bistre West (Labour)proposed that they go against the proposal due to issues regarding the flooding and the amount of water seen at the site, which was seconded by Cllr Ted Palmer (Labour) for Holywell Central.

Cllr Bernie Attridge (Ind) for Connah’s Quay Central, however, suggested that the plans be deferred instead. He had recognised the land was examined for the LDP, and that it is an outline application, so there isn’t a lot of detail, but felt that there were unanswered questions. With the issues raised at the meeting, the application could not be “dealt with” yet but did not want to refuse the application.

This was seconded by Cllr Carol Ellis (Non-Aligned) for Buckley: Mountain.

Cllr Chris Bithell (Labour) for Mold East said the land was already accepted as part of the LDP and the issues surrounding possible contamination, access and flooding had been previously raised, so “there’s nothing new”.

He acknowledged that the issues “will be examined” and will be “treated properly” as part of a detailed full application so he had “no particular desire” to see the application deferred, or refused.

The council heard from planning officers that the concerns are not expected to be addressed in an outline application. But the committee voted to defer the planning application due to issues raised around flooding, highway access and potential contamination.

By Emily Ash – Local Democracy Reporter and

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