Why no field is safe after 'kick in the teeth' decision on 110 houses, according to critics

Original by Mari Jones, North Wales Live - https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/no-field-safe-after-k…

(Photo - North Wales Live)

Plans for the development in Deganwy had attracted 1,300 letters of objection

 

A planned housing development which attracted 1,300 objections - the equivalent of half the population of the ward it will be in - has won an appeal against its rejection by local councillors.

The proposals by Conwy-based Beech Homes Ltd to build 110 new homes on farmland in Deganwy were thrown out by Conwy council in September 2017.

But the plans for land at the corner of Pentywyn Road and Marl Lane have now been given the green light by the Planning Inspectorate, the government body for England and Wales which deals with planning appeals.

The scheme faced huge local opposition, with 1,300 letters of objection to the plan which would see houses built within sight of Conwy Castle and Bodysgallen Hall.

Councillors had objected to the development on the grounds that the county would lose agricultural land and the development would have a visual impact on the area.

Responding to the success of the appeal, Llandudno Junction councillor Mike Priestley said: "No green fields are safe after this awful decision.

"I want the Welsh Government to investigate and review this application. It is a decision that has kicked local democracy in the teeth.

"I am also disappointed for the 1,300 residents who took the time to write in to object to this application.

"This land Beech Developments will build on is not in the Local Development Plan, although farmland down the road is. Why can’t they build there?

"What is the point of us making local decisions only for them to be overturned in Cardiff?"

Aberconwy AM Janet Finch Saunders said: "There is no doubt whatsoever that we need starter homes and affordable housing here in Aberconwy.

"However, I am very disappointed by this decision and feel that local democracy has been overruled once again.

"The approval of this particular site will impact badly on our future generations, the protection of our historic settlements and our natural diverse community boundaries.

"Additionally, the precedent set by this approval is a dangerous one, meaning that any of our remaining green fields are not resilient to the developers."

The AM has also raised questions about the delays which saw the planning inspectorate hearing held back several months.

Matthew Gilmartin, managing director for Beech Developments, said: "Conwy, like the rest of Wales, is falling behind in fulfilling its quota to build 20,000 homes by 2020, and this will go some way to helping the Welsh Government to achieve their target.

"Our focus on building highly sustainable, quality homes for the people of North Wales has not faltered for the 24 years we have been in business.

"Despite a series of setbacks and delays, we will look forward to working alongside local contractors and suppliers to create the 110 homes in Conwy using our in-house design team."

The site is currently pasture land owned by the Birmingham Hospital Trust, and is bordered by agricultural land, greenfield land and residential properties.

About 400 houses have already been built in the Marl ward in the past decade.

The planning inspectorate's report on the Deganwy development said: "The site appears as a logical expansion of the built-up area.

"It is not part of a secure agricultural holding and is contained by development on three sides.

"I therefore consider that, given the small area of land on the periphery of the Conwy Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest, the loss to the historic landscape would not be significant."