Posted: Fri 28th Feb 2020

Councillors asked to relax rules to allow plans for 129 new homes at former Corus site to go ahead

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Feb 28th, 2020

Councillors are being asked to relax their policies to allow proposals for a new housing development to go ahead.

Keepmoat Homes wants to build 129 homes on land at the former Corus steelworks site in Garden City as part of the £95m Northern Gateway project.

Under Flintshire Council’s normal planning rules, the developers would be required to make a contribution of more than £200,000 towards the nearby Sealand Primary School, as well as providing 30 per cent affordable housing.

However, a senior officer has recommended the plans should be given the go ahead without any payment towards education, while none of the properties would be offered at below the market value.

The company will instead be asked to gift an area of land to the primary school to allow it to be expanded.

Chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said the local authority was suggesting a diversion from its usual approach because of the “significant cost” of developing the site.

It comes after an independent assessment conducted on the council’s behalf found the scheme would deliver a number of benefits for the area, but would be difficult to complete without reducing overheads.

In a report set to go before planning committee members next week, he said: “The independent review concludes that the development of Northern Gateway is challenging.

[Keepmoat Homes wants to build 129 homes on land at the former Corus steelworks site in Garden City. Source: Keepmoat Homes]

“Early stage development is cost intensive and little value is generated for a considerable period; yet successful transformation can only be truly achieved through appropriate private sector investment at the earliest stage of development.

“The recommendations advise that the council would be wise not to enforce planning obligations at the earliest stage of development and to wait for later phases of development when the location had matured and values had risen.

“Strategic development works best when it is delivered as a partnership between the public and private sector.

“The land owner is investing considerable upfront costs that, whilst they will create long term value for the owner, it is also benefitting the wider community, by creating new residential neighbourhoods and facilitating the delivery of new employment space.”

Outline permission was originally granted for housing, a hotel and technology park on the land off Welsh Road back in 2014.

The reserved matters application submitted by Keepmoat relates to the first phase of the residential proposals.

[Source: Keepmoat Homes]

While some financial contributions have been removed, the authority is seeking payments of £10,000 towards ecological mitigation for birds and £4,500 to fund a traffic regulation order.

But a policy which requires developments of more than 100 homes to include sports facilities has also been dropped.

The latest plans will be considered by councillors at a meeting at County Hall in Mold on Wednesday.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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