The ongoing assault on the Well-being of the Community is giving rise to Rossett Focus Group having major concerns about the mis-use of the Well-being of Future Generations Wales Act 2015. This has been brought into sharp focus with the recent perverse Planning Decision here on Bellis Site in Rossett and also examples across in Flintshire. We are concerned that the Planning Inspectorate always claim that their decisions meet the requirements of this act by including a paragraph such as (IR97) in the granting of the Rossett Appeal. (Full Report)
“In coming to this conclusion, I have considered the duty to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, under section 3 of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WBFG Act). I have taken into account the ways of working set out at section 5 of the WBFG Act and consider that this decision is in accordance with the sustainable development principle through its contribution towards one or more of the Welsh Ministers well-being objectives, as required by section 8 of the WBFG Act”.
RFG regard such statements as hollow and insulting to the readers and what is seen to be a misleading interpretation of the Legislation when the actions clearly create further damage to the Community. RFG are so dis-satisfied with the way the legislation is being used to justify perverse decisions that accompany Planning Appeal Decisions that we have written to the Well-being Commissioner for Wales to investigate our complaints and concerns.
Nature of Our Concerns
There are a number of issues that relate to the holy grail claimed above as the “sustainable development principle” that seem to be conveniently overlooked as the Appeal Planning Inspectors push forward housing in unsuitable and unsustainable locations.
We have several major concerns as follows:
- The loss of Best & Most Versatile Agricultural Land on Rossett Site is a serious matter, once this is built out it will be lost to future generations for ever. This BMV Land is supposedly protected under Welsh Planning Law but the Welsh Government have published documents to the contrary to undermine any protection of this valuable land in Wrexham.
- Welsh Planning Law requires that where adequate primary Health Care is not available planning applications should be refused. We all know the problems being faced by Alyn Family Doctors and the damage to the Doctors Practice by increasing patient numbers is creating but again this aspect of Community Well-being is ignored by Planning Inspectors and WCBC Planning Officers alike.
- The risks to flooding are completely dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate, prompted by WCBC Planning Officers and acquiesced to by NRW. This together with the Planning Guidance on Flood Insurance which is at a premium or not available in the vicinity of the Bellis Site is being totally ignored when this has a very real impact on the Well-being of the Community.
- Unilateral declarations that footways and pathways are to be altered to suit a developers Active Travel Plans, even though they fail to meet Government Guidelines (Tan18) and the Manual for Streets and totally act against the Community interests especially the disabled or those persons with Protected Characteristics.
Request for Investigation by the Commissioner
We have requested that the Commissioner investigate all the above issues and the way the Well-being Act is being mis used and misquoted by The Planning Inspectorate to justify their decisions when there is obvious harm to communities.
In addition, we have requested that our evidence on the wrongful claims put out by WG on the taking without question of BMV Land in Wrexham be fully examined. We have drawn attention to similar Well-being problems occurring in Flintshire and have provided evidence to show that Rossett Planning Decision is being held up as beacon for any site with less constraints than Rossett and should be granted planning consent.
As a result, we have provided a substantial level of background evidence and reference material to support our request for a major review of mis-use of the Well-being Act in the Planning Appeal System and whether now it is fit for purpose.
We await a response to our letter of 25th June 2020.
Postscript: Equality and Human Rights Commission
In addition to placing a Well-being review request with the Wales Commissioner we have referred the matter of the defective Footway proposal on Rossett Road to the Wales Equality and Human Rights Commission to examine whether they are satisfied that it complies with the Equality Act 2010. A reply to the inquiry is expected by the end of June 2020 which was sent in March but the response was delayed due to the Covid 19 curtailment of investigations.