Posted: Fri 15th Mar 2024

Controversial Buckley housing development approved amid angry planning meeting scenes

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Controversial plans to build up to 140 houses in Buckley have been approved amid angry scenes.

Proposals by Clwyd Alyn Housing to develop land on Well Street in the town were considered by Flintshire Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, 13 March.

A total of 235 objections were lodged against the application due to concerns over road safety, flooding and potential contamination.

Despite a large amount of opposition, the scheme was given the green light after a senior official from the local authority recommended it for approval.

During Wednesday’s meeting, one local resident lashed out after claiming he would suffer a loss of privacy because of the plans.

Peter Newby, who lives next to the site, said he believed he was being treated “like a piece of s***”.

He later apologised for his language after being urged to be “less aggressive” by committee chair Richard Lloyd.

Mr Newby said: “Living in the bungalows, because the buildings are so close, will be like living in an open prison.

“We’re already overlooked at the front and at the rear. Now we’re going to be doubly overlooked. The officer has been to my house, and he knows the problems.

“Obviously, senior citizens don’t count anymore. You come to retire, and all of a sudden, all your retirement dreams have gone and you’re to be blotted out like a piece of s*** on the landscape.”

Flintshire’s chief planning officer Andrew Farrow warned before the meeting that refusing permission would impact on the county’s ability to meet the housing supply requirements in its Local Development Plan (LDP).

His recommendation for approval of the proposals, which include 56 affordable homes, was made subject to the developer entering into a section 106 legal agreement.

The requirements include a payment of £330,000 towards improvements to Southdown Community Primary School and £1,100 per house to upgrade a play area in Bistre.

In his report, Mr Farrow said: “This is one of a number of housing sites that are allocated in the adopted LDP where there is a need for them to begin to deliver the LDP housing requirement they contribute to.

“This requires them to gain planning approval, to enable developers to build and complete homes in accordance with the committed delivery rates in the LDP housing trajectory.

“Failure to achieve this will put pressure on the ability of the plan to maintain delivery levels which in turn will bring pressure for speculative development proposals to be submitted.”

The application was originally meant to be decided in November, but was deferred due to the level of concerns raised.

Local councillor Carolyn Preece again spoke out against the proposals at Wednesday’s meeting.

She said: “Members of this committee and over 230 residents had valid concerns at the last meeting over this planning application.

“They included traffic, the play area, contamination, flooding, privacy, traffic, ditches and access and yet no new information has been submitted.

“All new developments should protect the living conditions of nearby residents from any harmful effects of development, including increased activity, disturbance, noise, and loss of light.”

She added: “With traffic, no new information has been provided by the agent. The risk of serious accidents happening is extremely high.

“The crossroad junction to Well Street will become a hazard due to the additional volume of vehicles using the road and no consideration has been given to the overall safety of local residents.”

Cllr Chris Bithell, cabinet member for planning, backed the recommendation to approve the application.

He said the site had been included in Flintshire’s LDP due to its suitability for housing and the issues raised had been examined closely.

He said: “This is suitable for the development that’s proposed, and I think we have to recognise that.

“It’s not just us as a council that have included this in the adopted LDP, but also it’s been through the formal process of the examination in public.

“The issues that have been raised again today have been well rehearsed and well answered in the past and also in this particular report.”

The proposals were approved by seven votes to five, with one abstention.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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