Posted: Mon 20th May 2024

Opinion: Proposed 300 house development in Hawarden “places significant strain on the village’s already fragile infrastructure”

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Local resident and dedicated campaigner Maddie Hilton voices her concerns over a controversial housing development planned for the fields between Ash Lane in Mancot and Gladstone Way in Hawarden.

Opinion:

Residents of Hawarden village and neighbouring areas, along with local politicians, have united in opposition to the proposed construction of three hundred houses on the greenland of the Gladstone Estate fields, located off Gladstone Way. This development not only threatens to erase Hawarden’s green landscape and organic charm but also places significant strain on the village’s already fragile infrastructure.

Such strain poses substantial risks to the sustainability of local society, businesses and community well-being. Hawarden and its surrounding areas have witnessed significant development over the past few decades, with numerous housing estates being built. However, the accompanying public services have not seen corresponding enhancements. As a result, our schools, medical facilities, roads, and parking infrastructure are already overburdened and struggling to cope with the existing demands. The pressing question remains: Can our village withstand the additional strain of accommodating approximately twelve hundred more residents and six hundred additional cars? Moreover, can neighbouring areas absorb the repercussions of such adverse circumstances? Equally important is whether our environment, including air quality, pollution levels, waste management, and biodiversity, can adapt to the rapid influx of residents and vehicles. These concerns highlight the urgent need for comprehensive planning and sustainable development practices to ensure the well-being of our community and environment.

Roads such as The Highway, Cross Tree Lane, Gladstone Way, and Ash Lane were once tranquil routes, but they’ve now become gridlocked during school and work rush hours, exacerbated by increased traffic from neighbouring areas as local development expands. Residents are deeply concerned that the proposed development will exacerbate this congestion, potentially making these roads nearly impassable. Additionally, the safety implications of having such bustling roads in an area intended to be family-friendly and in harmony with nature cannot be overlooked.

The chronic shortage of medical professionals in the village has ignited significant concern among residents, who grapple with the daunting task of securing timely appointments at local surgeries and dental practices. Countless reports abound of individuals resorting to seeking appointments with a practitioner only in cases of dire emergency. As anxiety mounts, there is a prevailing fear that the proposed development will only exacerbate these already pressing challenges, leaving residents further underserved and vulnerable in terms of healthcare access.

[Maddie Hilton – third from left pictured with Plaid Cymru’s North Wales Senedd Member  Llyr Gruffydd, Flintshire Councillor Sam Swash and local resident Lara Hilton]

Recent pollution monitoring on Glynne Way revealed nitrogen dioxide levels nearing the UK and EU legal limit of 40.0 micrograms per cubic metre, with recorded levels at 34.0 micrograms per cubic metre. Such findings are alarming for a village of our size and environmental sensitivity, and the situation is expected to deteriorate further if the development proceeds.

Furthermore, despite the availability of ample brownfield sites across Flintshire that could facilitate opportunities for constructive development, the persistent decision to build on fruitful greenfield land amounts to a deliberate disregard for our environment, inflicting unnecessary harm. Concerned local politicians are vehemently urging authorities to reassess the proposed development in light of the pressing concerns voiced by residents.

The uproar among locals from not only Hawarden but all surrounding areas has been ongoing for years. Regular ‘Stop the Gladstone Build’ meetings have served as vital platforms for constructive dialogue and progress. Residents like Gill and Jeff Prestwich have attended meetings to voice their concerns, emphasising that ‘the scale of the proposal is out of proportion to the area’. Another resident, Fay Pargeter, criticised the development for being pushed through recklessly without putting adequate infrastructure in place, ‘They’ve completely disregarded those that live here … including the petition of 2500 signatures’. Drawing on my academic background in Political Science and International Development, I am able to objectively analyse this firsthand example of unsustainable development and its repercussions.

While arguments may be made for the necessity of affordable housing and potential economic growth resulting from housing developments, the long-term consequences of rapid population growth within inadequate infrastructure and a fragile environment far outweigh these purported benefits. Homes intended to promote growth and affordability will inevitably falter if pursued through flawed processes lacking proper foundations. In light of these complex challenges, adopting a bottom-up approach offers an effective strategy.

Given our collective desire for the prosperity of our community, I urge all locals to contribute their experiences and expertise as much as they feel possible, thereby safeguarding our community’s future.

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