Original by Allan George, North Wales Pioneer - https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/17319567.welsh-government-dela…
(Photo from the North Wales Pioneer)
THE decision on whether 110 houses can be built next to Marl Lane, Deganwy, has been delayed until January.
Beech Developments of Llandudno Junction had submitted a planning application for the houses which was refused by Conwy planners, the company subsequently appealed against the refusal and a public inquiry into the decision was held last September. The result of this inquiry was expected in November.
There was a great deal of opposition to the application from local residents who conducted a well organised campaign calling for refusal.
Earlier this month the Welsh Government issued a revised version of its planning policy which made it necessary for the planning inspector who conducted the inquiry Wales to seek the main parties’ views on the implications of the new version as it is an important consideration in this case.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Responses are being circulated for comment from the main parties after which the Inspector will consider them and proceed to make his decision in January.”
Cllr Mike Priestley, who represents the Marl Lane ward, and was one of the leaders of the opposition to the development said: “The Welsh Government’s planning guidance, which has caused the delay, reiterates all the reasons to refuse this application.
“It flows from the Future Generations Wellbeing Act which I believe strengthens the case to dismiss this appeal. We are all eagerly awaiting the decision.”
Cllr Sue Shotter, who also represents the area, and was also one of the leaders of the opposition campaign, said: “It is very frustrating the Inspectorate has only asked for comments from the appellant and the local planning authority on the implementation of the new planning policy.
“The local authority had only objected on narrow grounds: historic, landscape and agricultural.
“So its comments will not reflect the residents’ objections which included sustainability issues. It is disappointing residents cannot comment on the new planning policy to raise their concerns.
“Once again it feels as if the residents’ opinions are being disregarded. After all the impact will affect them negatively in some cases if this housing development is approved due to this new amendment.”
Further frustration was expressed by Janet Finch-Saunders, AM for Aberconwy, who has written to the Welsh Government minister responsible for planning, Lesley Griffiths, demanding an explanation.
She said: “The handling of this planning application by the Welsh Government just gets worse and worse.
“The original inquiry was cancelled, the Ministerial deadline has been missed, and now a decision is not expected until next year.
“My fear that this appeal would still be looming over us into the New Year is quickly becoming reality. This is largely because of the failing of the Welsh Government, and in particular the Minister, to ensure appeals are dealt with efficiently.
“To make matters worse, with the introduction of new planning law earlier this month, there are new factors to be take into account. However, rather than giving the hundreds of interested parties an opportunity to comment again, submissions have only been sought from two parties: the appellant and Conwy County Borough Council.
“The decision could be significantly influenced by these comments. I have written to the Minister expressing my serious concern at the grave disrespect the Planning Inspectorate and her Welsh Government is showing residents by not inviting our opinions too.
“I believe that the voices of all interested parties should be heard, and that the Inspectorate should be facing penalties for missing the Ministerial deadline”.
Beech Developments did not respond a request for comment. However its planning consultant stated, in responding to the Planning Inspectorate, that the developer does not consider the latest planning policy has any significant effects that might alter the way that the appeal proposal should be considered.