Redrow ‘failing to comply with planning conditions’ over Penyffordd path closure, claims Ramblers Cymru
A charity dedicated to rambling in Wales has slammed Deeside-based house builder Redrow for ‘failing to comply with its own promises and planning conditions’ by keeping a pathway closed on a Penyffordd housing development.
The path known officially as ‘Higher Kinnerton path 8’ sits within the new Millstone View development in Penyffordd.
During a planning inquiry in 2017, the housebuilder’s witness said that the public path across the site would only need to be closed, in two stages for six months.
However Redrow wants to keep a footpath closed until 2024, despite many objections, according to local Ramblers Cymru representative Howard White.
Mr White has said the path has remained closed since work started in 2019.
The Ramblers Cymru rep claims the phasing of work has “not complied with planning conditions.”
But Redrow said it has complied with all planning conditions “throughout.”
Mr White said no nearby alternative path has been made available to the public,“even though a suitable route is available.”
“The route would give access from the new estate and the village to the countryside.” Mr White added.
Ramblers Cymru, local walkers and the Penyffordd Community Council have objected to each six-monthly renewal, but the Welsh Government has recently approved a further extension through to April 25th 2023.
The decision to extend the closure of the path was taken “over the community’s objections and without timely notification.” Said County Councillor for Penyffordd, Alasdair Ibbotson
Mr White said: “I have been complaining to Redrow since work started and the path was suddenly closed.”
“I have offered several times to meet on site so I could suggest a short on-site alternative path route.”
The housebuilder declined the offer, Mr White said that Redrow told him they “will not be corresponding on this matter moving forward as we have nothing further to add.”
Mr White said Redrow is a member of the “Considerate Constructors Scheme”. Under the Scheme Code Constructors agree to “Respect the Community” and “manage their impact on their neighbours and the public to support a positive experience.”
He said: “Redrow has failed to comply with its own promises, failed to comply with some planning conditions, and has kept the path closed for an unnecessarily long time to suit its own commercial benefit.”
“It is therefore in breach of this Code, unfortunately the Code is voluntary, and there seem to be no enforceable sanctions.”
Cllr Ibbotson, said: “Along with the excellent work carried out by the Ramblers on this issue, I have been in touch with Flintshire Council officers regarding this matter and I am highly disappointed that the decision has been taken to extend the closure.”
“From the mass trespass at Kinder Scout to the modern day, ordinary people have been refused access to the British countryside, but this land belongs to all of us.”
Cllr Ibbotson said: “I will continue to call on Flintshire to take a tougher approach to developers and the landed gentry alike trying to ban the British people from our own nation, especially where, in this case, the closure has only been applied for because planning conditions have been breached already.”
“In the long term, Wales and England should introduce a right to roam just as Scotland already has, allowing walkers access to everywhere except private gardens and cultivated fields.” He added.
Right of reply
Gareth Williams, technical director for Redrow (NW), said: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience the footpath closure has caused.”
“It has not been our intention to restrict access around the development and there are alternative routes open for use, which link both the bridleway to the rear and Chester Road at the front of the site.”
“We have complied with all planning conditions throughout. The single length of footpath that remains closed can’t be opened safely until we have completed work on the adjacent houses, however, we will of course open access as soon as it is safe to do so.”
[The photo shows the path route blocked by security fencing in January 2022]
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