Posted: Thu 26th Oct 2023

Housing plans for derelict garden centre on Flintshire / Wrexham border given go ahead

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 26th, 2023

A derelict former garden centre dubbed an ‘eyesore’ on the Flintshire / Wrexham border can finally make way for a housing development.

Flintshire Council’s planning committee has given the green light to proposals for a mix of flats and houses at the former Spectrum Garden Centre on Wrexham Road in Cefn-y-Bedd.

But the development of 20 one-bedroom cottage flats, seven three-bedroom houses and three two-bedroom houses could bring with it a reduction in the speed limit along Wrexham Road.

Concerns about drivers speeding along the 40mph route were flagged up in a statement from neighbouring resident Belinda Williams, supporting the application but sharing fears about pedestrian access to the site and speed of 40mph along the site.

She said the new 20mph speed limit means drivers are aggressively accelerating in the direction of The Hollybush pub when it switches up to 40mph.

“I feel the speed limit needs to be decreased and pedestrian access improved with a refugee island to access the bus stop on the opposite side of the road”, she said.

Another statement from Daniel Russell, agent for the applicant Kingscrown said traffic issues would have been worse during the site’s previous use as a garden centre.

He said: “The previous use of the site as a commercial garden centre would have resulted in much higher traffic movements coming in and out of the site.

“The access will be significantly improved both in terms of both visibility and geometry than the existing access design.”

Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab) acknowledged that these access issues had been taken up on a site visit but felt satisfied that councillors could follow officer recommendations to grant the application.

He touched on previous concerns about flooding, but with the site visit having taken place on Monday in the aftermath of ‘Storm Babet’, and with the site not affected, felt it had proven safe for development.

“The site is a brownfield site”, Cllr Bithell said.

“It’s been an eyesore for many years, that’s been highlighted again.

“This will provide homes where there is a proven need in this particular part of the county.

“It was a good day to have a site visit after the torrential rain we had in the area.

“There is a deep ravine there and the water levels are well down. Never say never, but it didn’t flood last weekend and the river levels were low afterwards so I think we can be fairly satisfied on that particular basis.”

Other councillors welcomed the development but had concerns about the road’s speed limit.

Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers (Ind) said: “Going from Cefn-y-Bedd to Wrexham just past the Hollybush the 20mph changes to 40mph just before this derelict site, I was wondering whether the 40mph could begin just after the site?”
Cllr Peers also raised concerns about turning right coming out of the site given the speed of the road.

Ward member Llanfynydd Cllr Dave Hughes (Lab) said he felt local concerns had been satisfied.

“Having visited there on Monday I’m convinced the entrance (to the site) has been sorted”, he said.

“I agree with Cllr Mike Peers, the road is rather quick coming down there and 30mph would be more preferable, but then you come on to a dual carriageway.

“This has been fully supported by the community council.”

Sue Thomas, the council’s highways development control manager confirmed there will be a review of speed limits across the county following the 20mph roll-out and could make the case for reducing the speed limit near the site.

When put to the vote, permission for the development was granted.

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

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