Posted: Fri 12th Apr 2024

Plans for 90 new homes in New Brighton approved despite fears for schoolchildren’s walking safety

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales


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Plans to build 90 homes in a village near Mold have been given the go ahead despite concerns over the safety of children walking to school.

An application by Stewart Milne Homes Ltd to develop a greenfield site in New Brighton was considered by councillors on Wednesday, April 10.

Concerns were raised during the meeting of Flintshire Council’s planning committee that there would be no safe route for youngsters walking from the new estate on New Brighton Road to nearby Ysgol Sychdyn.

However, while officials acknowledged that the walking route to Ysgol Sychdyn would be hazardous for children, the proposals were approved by a single vote.

It came after planning officers said there were other schools in nearby Mynydd Isa and Bryn Y Baal, which youngsters from the estate could get to safely.

It was the second time the application was brought before members after it was deferred to find a solution to the road safety issues in November.

Speaking at Wednesday’s meeting, Northop councillor Marion Bateman (Ind) said she was frustrated that one had not been found.

She said: “We were all waiting to be told details of a simple solution for a safe route to Ysgol Sychdyn along New Brighton Road.

“I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that no such solution has been brought forward today.

“The only resolution mentioned is free school transport provided by Flintshire County Council. This is not a viable solution in perpetuity.

“When this application was here last November, many members voiced their concerns.

“One member said very poignantly that he didn’t want to be responsible for the death of a child, whilst another said we are talking about the safety of children, and we don’t want to create an unsafe situation.”

She added: “The only scheme, not a simple one, that will make the hazardous route safe for all pedestrians is a footway along the entire road into Sychdyn.

“But unfortunately, no one is willing or able to pay for it as it would necessitate the prohibitive expense of acquiring third party land.”

In a report, Flintshire’s chief planning officer Andrew Farrow said the council would be legally obliged to consider whether transport is required to take children from the estate who attend Ysgol Sychdyn to school.

He said the developers had considered several options to provide a safe route to Sychdyn, but none were viable due to road widths and third-party land ownership issues.

Information provided by the education authority shows that there currently only three pupils who attend Ysgol Sychdyn living in New Brighton, compared to 48 who go to either Mynydd Isa or Bryn Y Baal.

But Cllr Richard Jones said the proposals should be rejected over the safety issues.

He said: “We know that the route to school in Sychdyn would be hazardous. It was identified by a planning inspector and has been identified by our own highways department.

“Therefore, we would be expecting children and other pedestrians to walk from this development down a hazardous road. It’s crazy.”

It was revealed during the meeting that the developer had recently gone into administration, but councillors were told the landowner remained committed to going ahead with the plans.

Other issues highlighted include problems with flooding at the site and a lack of infrastructure to serve people living in the houses.

Despite this, Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab), cabinet member for planning, said he supported the chief officer’s recommendation.

He said: “We’ve had a good debate on these issues, which are of great concern to members, and members of the public living in the New Brighton area.

“In terms of the existing situation, three out of 51 children currently go to Sychdyn.

“On that trajectory, I think we can actually assume that in future the majority of the children from this particular development site will again go to other schools via a safe route.

“The point has been made that it’s not a reason we can actually refuse this, as we can’t require a developer to provide a safe route to school.

“I’m quite happy that this particular measure has been looked at in some detail, and all aspects have been considered. On that basis, I’m quite happy to see this proposal go forward.”

The vote to approve the application was initially tied at seven for and seven against, before committee chair Richard Lloyd used his casting vote to back the scheme.

Permission was given subject to the developer entering into a section 106 legal agreement to provide 36 affordable homes and pay £36,000 to improve facilities at Ysgol Sychdyn.

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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