Posted: Thu 31st Aug 2023

Flintshire Council gives nod to 21 affordable homes despite previous flooding fears

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Aug 31st, 2023

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Plans for more than 20 new affordable houses in a village near Holywell have been narrowly approved despite concerns about flooding.

Flintshire Council’s planning committee granted the proposal for development at Rhewl Fawr Road, Penyffordd.

The plans were originally set to go in front of the committee as long ago as November last year but were deferred to clear up confusion about community council responses to the application, and to allow for a site visit.

Planning officer Karl Spilsbury outlined the proposals. Permission was originally granted several years ago for a similar development of 23 homes on the same land, but this expired in 2021.

The revised application mooted 16 three-bedroom dwellings and five two-bedroom detached dwellings, with two and three car parking spaces provided for each of the properties.

Adoption of Flintshire’s Local Development Plan (LDP) earlier this year also changed the landscape – with now only fully affordable housing allowed to be built in the village, something the applicants have agreed to.

At the meeting concerns were raised about flooding. Councillors had been on a site visit beforehand and chief planning officer Andrew Farrow advised that the authority’s separate SUDS (sustainable urban drainage) advisory board deal with those concerns and no development takes place until they are addressed.

Local resident John Grainger talked of flooding in gardens of nearby properties, adding that videos had been sent to the planning department showing the severity of the problem. He called for the application to be refused.

Speaking for the applicants Chris Ralphs said the development would not increase the risk of flooding and was fully compliant with national and local planning policy.

Ward members Llanasa and Trelawnyd Councillors Glyn Banks (Ind) and Gina Maddison (Lab) echoed the views of residents, with Cllr Maddison reading out a solicitor’s statement on behalf of residents.

She said: “The need for housing is accepted.”

“I would ask here, what is affordable housing? The criteria for affordable housing to me is entirely different from someone buying a three-bedroom house.

“This should not be at the expense of existing residents and where constraints affecting development delivery have not been fully considered, which is precisely the case here.”

“The concerns raised by local residents with regards to existing drainage capacity and the potential for flooding are referred to in the officer’s report. The planning officer states these concerns have been adequately addressed by Welsh Water.”

Cllr Maddison added that Welsh Water had noted the surface water sewer on-site is not their responsibility.

“The terrible incident in Liverpool at the weekend shows us the dangers of sustained rainfall and flash flooding”, she added.

“Can we consider the congestion to what is virtually a one-road village by the building of 21 houses? This could mean potentially another 63 cars accessing the village.”

Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab) proposed granting the application, given the demand for affordable properties.

He reminded members that drainage concerns are not a matter for the planning committee to consider, that it’s a separate issue for the SUDS board.

Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers (Ind) said he had reservations about parking with three spaces earmarked for each home. He suggested a condition of permission be that there are a maximum of two spaces each.

This was seconded by Buckley Bistre East Cllr Richard Jones (Ind) who felt the number of spaces proposed was “excessive” for affordable housing and some aspects of the plans had been “shoehorned” in since the LDP was adopted.

Andy Roberts, the council’s head of planning policy, reiterated Cllr Bithell’s comments about drainage being a separate issue for SUDS.

He refuted residents’ assertions that a lack of due diligence had been undertaken regarding drainage and surface water run-off by the authority because it would be looked at by the advisory board.

When put to the vote, Cllr Peers’ amendment to limit the parking was not granted. Councillors then voted on the original recommendation to approve the plans.

With the committee split, chair Saltney Ferry Cllr Richard Lloyd (Lab) had the casting vote. He voted in favour of the recommendations which saw the proposals granted.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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