Agenda item

055590 - R - Full Application - Erection of 186 Dwellings and Ancillary Development at Chester Road, Penymynydd


That Planning Permission be refused for the reasons outlined in the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment).


The Committee considered the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment) in respect of this application which had been the subject of a site visit.  The usual consultations had been undertaken and the responses were detailed in the report.  Additional comments received since preparation of the report were set out in the late observations.


The officer drew attention to the main issues for consideration set out in paragraph 1.02 of the report and clarified the reasons for recommending refusal of the application.  In the late observations, he highlighted the response to the representations by the Ramblers Association which explained why this was not considered to be an additional ground for refusal.


Councillor Peers moved the officer recommendation for refusal and this was duly seconded.


Mrs. C. Huber spoke against the application on the following grounds: widespread local disapproval against the application; growth in the village had already well exceeded the UDP target which meant that the local infrastructure was struggling to keep pace and would not be able to support further development of this scale; the site being in open countryside and outside the settlement boundary; non-compliance with local and national policies; impact on quality of life and harm to the cohesiveness of the community as demonstrated by other local developments; policy requirements on the overdevelopment of the village and no protection against displaced housing from Cheshire given the border position; concerns about speculative housing developments, the sustainability of the rate of recent new house building and long-term capacity of developers; reference to the statement by Lesley Griffiths AM that the lack of housing land supply should not justify any detrimental impact on local communities.


In support of refusal, Councillor Peers commended the way in which local representations had been made and he agreed with the findings of the report, citing the location outside the settlement boundary and non-compliance with local and national policies as key factors.  He noted from the site visit that the village was over-developed, as confirmed by the growth figures, and said that the Council’s inability to demonstrate a five year land supply should not be exploited by developers where there was no regard for local impact.  He felt this was an uncontrolled development and that the LDP process was the mechanism by which candidates sites could be put forward.


Councillor Butler spoke in support of the officer’s reasons for recommending refusal and of the comments by those who had spoken.  He highlighted the need for effective planning for the future to avoid negative impact on communities and local infrastructure.


As the Local Members, Councillors Hinds and Williams spoke against the application on the following grounds: size of the development and siting outside the settlement boundary in open countryside; mix of housing; drainage and environment; cohesiveness of the community and principles of sustainable development; increased pressure on busy local roads, particularly on Chester Road; capacity of the infrastructure to cope with further growth of the village due to current demand for amenities such as schools, playgroups, a doctor’s surgery and much-needed Police presence; concerns about access to services and employment outside the area in view of decreasing public transport services, in particular the impact on children attending schools and elderly residents accessing GP surgeries elsewhere; compliance with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015; the need for slow growth to sustain the village and its schools; the importance of planning having regard to local housing need and infrastructure; compliance with policies and the UDP process to control development; attention drawn to another expression of interest on the land; lack of provision of recreation facilities; and the possibility of future applications being prejudiced if permission was granted.  Both Members also expressed their gratitude to the officer and local residents.


To assist the Committee, the Service Manager - Strategy provided clarification on the comments made by Lesley Griffith AM and explained the basis of the recommendation for refusal which focussed mainly on the principles of the development which had not been addressed by the applicant.


In support of refusal, Councillor Thomas said that local need had not been met and that there was a lack of affordable housing.  He went on to comment on the quality grading of the land.


Councillor Roberts also spoke against the application due to the strong grounds on which the officer recommendation had been made and cited the cohesiveness of communities and principles of sustainable development as key considerations.  He highlighted the UDP Inspector’s comments against allocation of the land for development and suggested that his wording on the ‘incursion into the countryside’ be included to strengthen the recommendation for refusal.


Speaking in support of the comments made against the application, Councillor Dunbar referred to the need to comply with policies and Councillor Mullin raised concerns about the impact on wider communities.


In response, the officer advised that policy requirements on affordable homes and play facilities were met and that the majority of land on the site was identified as grade 3b.


Whilst responding to some of the issues raised, the Service Manager - Strategy reflected on the national position on housing land supply on which representations had been made and the process for considering sites for the UDP.  He acknowledged Councillor Roberts’ suggestion for additional wording but advised that this be taken into consideration if needed at a future stage.


In summing up, Councillor Peers said that the application went against national and local planning policies, was located outside the settlement boundary and could be viewed as an incursion into open countryside.  He added that this was an uncontrolled development which was premature in advance of the LDP and would have a significant detrimental impact on the cohesiveness of the community and principles of sustainable development.  He also pointed out that insufficient details had been provided by the applicant on flood prevention.  He confirmed his proposal for refusal in accordance with the reasons set out in the Chief Officer’s report.


On being put to the vote, the proposal to refuse the application was carried.


Having declared a personal and prejudicial interest on the item, Councillor Ray Hughes left the meeting prior to discussion on the item.  After the vote had been taken, he returned to the meeting and was informed of the decision.




That Planning Permission be refused for the reasons outlined in the report of the Chief Officer (Planning and Environment).


Following the item, the Chairman announced a two minute recess.

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