Flood Risks & Household Insurance in Rossett

RFG members have been following up on Item 2 from the meeting held on 8th March. We have now had a response from the Association of British Insurers regarding our query in the LL12 0DS area (Bellis Site location). We are advised that as ABI are the trade body for insurance companies, they are unable to comment on coverage for individual properties. However, we hope you find the information they have provided below useful. 

The ABI Commented

The insurance industry worked with Government to develop Flood Re, a world first insurance scheme which creates a competitive market for high flood risk homes by enabling householders to access affordable flood cover.  Further information on Flood Re is available on their website www.floodre.co.uk and there is a list of eligible insurers here

However, it is worth noting that for a property to be eligible for the scheme it must be built before 1 January 2009.  This specific criteria was agreed with Government in an effort to not incentivise developers building in areas of flood risk. Residents can check there whether their property can qualify for Flood Re here

 Improving the planning process to prevent inappropriate developments in high flood risk areas and including sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in all new developments have long been key campaigning asks the ABI has made to the Government. While there is a clear need for affordable homes, it is short sighted to build them in areas at high risk of flooding and SuDS will help to mitigate the risk of surface water flooding. 

 Finally, if you or any other residents are struggling to find cover, as well as speaking to insurers directly, you can use an insurance broker. The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) runs a ‘Find Insurance’ service, which can be contacted at https://www.biba.org.uk/find-insurance/ or 0370 950 1790. A broker will be able to discuss options regarding insurance coverage.

The Focus Group View

RFG view regarding the Flood Re insurers list is that, it may be useful to those people who cannot get Insurance. Bear in mind that 5 insurers on that list have already declined insurance cover locally on houses built before 2009. If you are not insured with them already they are not obliged to quote. From our knowledge we have found that properties with postcodes LL12 0HB, LL12 0ED, LL12 0EJ and LL12 0DZ, have been refused Flood insurance by Allianz, AXA, Direct Line, LV= and NFU. These are just 5 of the Companies on the list refusing flood insurance to the property postcodes listed, but there may be others of which we are unaware.

Response to Welsh Govermment (TAN15)

We have responded to the Welsh Government Consultation on Flood Risks (TAN15) and along with the ABI we are hoping for significant improvements in the way Flood Risks and the Issue of Flood Insurance Consultations are handled.

We have recommended much greater Planning involvement with the Insurance Industry and utilisation of historic local flood records to alleviate future flood risk problems.  We are advised that the updated TAN 15 should be published very soon possibly in April 2020, but this might be delayed in the current pandemic circumstances.

Judicial Review Update

Land North and South of Holt Road, Rossett

Following the advice (Counsels Opinion) of a Barrister in London Rossett Focus Group (RFG) decided that there was no merit in proceeding with a Judicial Review of the Ministers decision on the Planning Appeal for the above site.

Our Barrister examined all the issues surrounding the decision and advised that there were insufficient grounds to make a legal challenge and that if successful, which was unlikely, the matter would be referred straight back to the same Minister to make again the decision having corrected any procedural errors. The courts will only override a decision based on a failure to follow the law, they will not over turn a bad decision if the law or procedures have been followed.

We were advised that it was:

Important to remember that even if successful, the appeal will simply be remitted back to the Minister to redetermine – if you believe the Ministers are committed to pushing it through (for the sake of the LDP) then it is likely to be a pyrrhic victory.

In view of the substantial costs likely to arise from an unsuccessful challenge RFG would be seen to be throwing good money away. In our Barristers Opinion the case put forward by the Council was lightweight, the Inspectors Report was equally thin and that of the Minister was ever more so.

Counsel examined the question:
“was RFG’s evidence properly considered and advised?”

The Inspector dealt with it very briefly – a list of bullet points, compared with detailed discussion of Council and Developer’s cases.

However, lots of caselaw confirming that decision makers only need to deal with the main issues, they don’t have to address every point or rehearse all arguments made.

Clear that the material was before the Inspector, it is on PINS portal and bullet points do cover all issues raised, although cursory.

No realistic prospect of arguing that RFG’s evidence was

Going Forward

Our Counsel felt the best solution was to mount challenges at Reserved Matters stage bearing in mind the site has yet to be sold and the Minister has reduced the term to reach Reserved Matters from 3 years to 2 and there was strong evidence to suggest that the conditions imposed on  outline approval for 132 houses may not be able to be discharged by the SUDs Board.

Overall the advice was to continue to resist this development in every arena possible over the next 2 years even up to the time the last brick is laid, if that should happen. 

This we will endeavour so to do on behalf of all the villagers, so we may need some help from time to time. 

At present we have raised matters with the Association of British Insurers re this development and also seeking the guidance of the Equality Rights Commission (Wales) on footway issues. We are also making representations in a number of other areas and we will keep you informed on progress.

Boundary Changes – Village Meeting

A well attended Community Council meeting took place at the Village Hall to discuss the proposed boundary changes to the Rossett and Burton Parish (see map below). The meeting was chaired by Alan Parrington with Hugh Jones giving a clear explanation of the proposals.

Everyone was allowed to have their say. A vote at the end of the discussion was unanimous in that we do not want the current boundaries to be changed. In case you are unaware of the proposal, the recommendation is to take Station Road and part of Lavister into the Burton Ward and combine it with Llay. Yes! that includes the church, the doctors, the dentist, etc. The Local Democracy & Boundary Commission Officers have obviously never visited our village.

The next step is to send letters of objection to Lesley Griffiths our (invisible) AM and the Boundary Commission. Example letters are available for download. They can be found in the Links/Files menu of the page.

Maps Showing Locations of Proposed Boundary

Map shows the proposed boundary of the Llay ward
Proposed Boundary Changes
The green line indicates the proposed boundary at Station Road
New Boundary – Left Llay, Right Rossett

RFG Meeting – 8 March

A smaller gathering than usual of RFG members met last night to consider our responses to recent events. Items I can share as follows:

  1. One of our members is writing to the Health Board to ask if the Emergency Clinic is located in a suitable position given its limitations.
  2. We are aware of Insurance companies refusing to quote for properties in our area due to flood risk. We would ask for you to respond to this note if you or one of your relatives/neighbours has been refused. Please give Name of Insurance Company and the Postcode of the address.
  3. We shall be writing an objection to the proposed boundary change to the Rossett Ward. Please try to attend the Community Council Meeting in the Village Hall on Thursday 12th March 7:45pm to understand the impact.
  4. Some of our members will be attending the LDP hearing on Housing Provision. Please try to come along and see what we are up against. Starts 09:30 Wednesday 11th March in The Memorial Hall, Bodhyfryd, Wrexham, LL12 7AG
  5. We continue our boycott of Bellis Brothers (Holt) and urge other Rossett residents to do likewise.
  6. We wish our new village business Cwtch Ceramics every success and look forward to a regular coffee and cake. Opens this Tuesday 10th.

We shall have an update on a Judicial Review later this week. Two local residents have funded the Barristers Opinion. We are still looking into the crowdfunding option once we understand all the costs.

Welcome To Rossett Village

Welcome to the launch of the new community website for the Rossett Focus Group.  The RFG was formed in 2018 in response to the continual intervention of developers and council planners. These “non-residents” are intent on causing unnecessary and uncontrolled development of the village.  Much of which is unsustainable and badly thought out.

The website will keep you updated on our actions to protect the village. We hope therefore that you will join us in the fight to maintain sustainability of services in and around the village.  There will be occasions when we need your help – many voices are better than a few.