Posted: Wed 4th Mar 2020

Detailed plans for 129 new homes in Garden City receive approval

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 4th, 2020

Detailed plans to build 129 homes at a former industrial site in Flintshire have been given the go ahead.

The decision was made despite concerns about councillors being asked to relax planning rules to allow the development of the former Corus steelworks site in Garden City to progress.

The scheme, which forms part of the £95m Northern Gateway project, would normally have triggered a payment of more than £200,000 towards Sealand Primary School.

It would also have required 30 per cent of the properties to be allocated as affordable housing.

But Keepmoat Homes was allowed to forgo both conditions by gifting an area of land to allow the primary school to be expanded instead.

The recommendation to approve the proposals drew criticism from some members of Flintshire Council’s planning committee at a meeting held today .

Buckley councillor Mike Peers asked how the expansion of the school would be funded without securing money from the company.

Speaking at County Hall in Mold, he said: “Do we know the value of this land because there is an amount of £208,000 being triggered because of the requirement, but in lieu of that this piece of land is being gifted to the school.

“It’s 60 metres by 60 metres which doesn’t seem a lot in relation to £208,000.

“Sealand Primary School is going to be the main school for the Northern Gateway development and no doubt it will require buildings and expansion.

Where is the funding for that coming from because it certainly isn’t coming from phase one.”

He added: “If we keep talking about viability, the Northern Gateway site isn’t going to deliver any affordable houses, it’s going to be left to other developers around the county.

“We need to know how we’re going to get the affordable houses.”

Ahead of the meeting, chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said the local authority was suggesting a diversion from its usual policies because of the “significant cost” of developing the site.

In a report, he said an independent assessment conducted on the council’s behalf found the scheme would provide a number of benefits for the area, but would be difficult to complete without reducing overheads.

The plans were supported by Sealand representative Christine Jones, whose ward the former steelworks site falls under.

The Labour cabinet member, who did not vote on the application after declaring a personal interest as a school governor, praised work already carried out to mitigate flooding.

She said: “This is such an important application as part of a massive strategic development in Sealand and for the greater Flintshire area as well.

“It’s been a long time coming so I’m really pleased that we’ve finally got round to this reserved matters stage.

“My main concern has always been the flood risk for Garden City due to the extremely high tides that we get from the River Dee.

“The flood mitigation work that was undertaken for this proposed development has given us greater protection, especially in recent weeks when water levels have been dangerously higher than they’ve ever been.

“I welcome this plan and I hope it’s going to get approved today.”

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.

It was approved by thirteen votes to one at the end of the debate.

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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