Flintshire planning blueprint to be paused amid ‘significant concerns’ over key housing site
The examination of a blueprint for about 7,000 new homes in Flintshire is set to be placed on hold amid “significant concerns” over a key housing site.
Inspectors have been running the rule over Flintshire Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP), which sets out locations where development could take place in the county over the next decade, since April.
Last month, officials from the Planning Inspectorate revealed they had major reservations over land earmarked for 300 properties at Warren Hall in Broughton.
It followed Airbus challenging the suitability of the site due to it being close to the final approach for aircraft landing at Hawarden Airport.
The firm, which uses the airport to transport wings from its factory in Broughton, warned the height of the houses would need to be restricted with residents likely to be impacted by high noise levels.
The two inspectors responsible for overseeing the LDP process have now proposed it should be paused for a month to allow the local authority to address the concerns.
In a letter, Siân Worden and Claire MacFarlane said the decision did not indicate any criticism of the council but would allow it to prepare for an extra hearing into the Warren Hall site.
They said: “The service level agreement (SLA) between the Planning Inspectorate and Flintshire County Council states that there are some circumstances where it may be necessary to formally suspend the examination process.
“These include where the inspectors are unable to proceed with their assessment of soundness due to significant concerns being raised which require further work.
“That is the current position and we propose, therefore, that there should be a one month suspension in the Flintshire examination.
“The proposed suspension is a practical device which reflects that the inspectors cannot carry out significant examination work until we have received further information.
“It will provide us with time in which to complete the examination and write our report after such information has been provided.
“The suspension does not imply any criticism or shortcomings in the council’s, the inspectors’ or any other parties’ preparation for, or engagement with, the examination thus far.”
The inspectors suggested the LDP examination should be paused from this Friday until Friday 20 August.
In their previous letter to council planning officials, the pair said they recognised the economic benefits which would result from the Warren Hall site being developed.
However, they advised it should not have a “disproportionate influence” on the land being selected.
In a statement released last month, the council’s chief planning officer said the inspectors’ letter did not represent a final judgement on whether the site would be included in the LDP.
Andrew Farrow stressed they had also asked for similar information on other areas within the plan.
He said: “The examination is still in progress and the inspectors’ letter actually asks the council for further evidence on matters such as viability, the position of Airbus and other matters to which we are preparing our response.
“Therefore, it would be inappropriate to comment until such evidence is made public as part of the examination process.”
The extra hearing on the Warren Hall site is due to be held in September before a final report is issued by the inspectors.
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com