Posted: Tue 19th Apr 2022

Refusal of Penyffordd housing plans upheld amid school capacity concerns

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 19th, 2022

A decision to refuse plans for almost 40 new homes in Flintshire has been upheld amid concerns about the impact on the capacity of nearby schools.

Villagers in Penyffordd have been involved in a long-running battle to stop land at Vounog Hill from being developed.

Flintshire Council’s planning committee rejected proposals to create 37 homes on the field, which is a popular location for sledging during the winter, in October 2019.

It followed objections being raised regarding the impact on the countryside and the effect on local services after permission was previously granted for hundreds of properties across other sites in the area.

The Tevir Group, which is behind the scheme, later lodged an appeal in a bid to have the decision overturned, leading to a public inquiry being held last month.

The planning inspector who oversaw the case has now announced her decision to dismiss the appeal after being told that siblings were being forced to attend different schools due to a lack of space.

In a report outlining her findings, Joanne Burston said: “At the hearing I heard from a number of local residents who expressed concerns relating to the lack of capacity of local schools and ability to access medical services such as the pharmacy and GP appointments.

“In particular, I heard evidence relating to the oversubscribed nearest secondary school Castell Alun High School.

“I noted the points made by local residents that children in the same family are having to attend different high schools and that friendship groups are being divided and I accept the anxiety and well-being issues this must cause.

“The cumulative volume of this proposal in combination with other developments locally and its lack of contributions towards education facilities would undermine the sustainable housing strategy contained in the emerging local development plan.”

The local authority previously indicated that a sum of almost £111,000 would need to be paid to boost capacity at Castell Alun High School in Hope as a result of the plans.

However, the council said it was unable to request such a payment after reaching the maximum amount of developer contributions which can be pooled together to fund improvements.

Ms Burston said this “added weight” to the argument that the level of expansion proposed for the village was unsustainable.

Her decision has been welcomed by members of Penyffordd Community Council, who were opposed to the scheme.

In a statement posted on the community council’s website, they said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to report that we won the Vounog appeal.

“A big thank you to each and everyone who played their part in objecting to this application.

“This was a great team effort by residents, community and county council.”

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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