Rossett Focus Group Meeting – 28 Feb 2020
The Rossett Focus Group met last night (28/02/20) to discuss the decision by the Cardiff Inspector to grant planning permission on the Bellis fields; and, our options, also its implications for other planning applications in the immediate area and wider.
The Bellis site in Rossett has received Ministerial Approval for 132 houses which is planned to be built on best and most versatile agricultural land, in a green barrier, outside the existing settlement boundary in a Special Landscape Area, on land susceptible to flooding where flood insurance is not available, where the doctors can no longer cope, the schools are at capacity and the roadways present a danger to the public.
The Welsh Government have ignored their own policies and completely ignored the views of the people who live in the village.Reluctantly we have now instructed a barrister for a Counsels Opinion on the Bellis field appeal decision. We have a meeting in London next week to brief them. They will advise as to whether we have a case for a Judicial Review. In the meantime, we are looking to organise a village meeting ASAP to discuss our next move and to appraise villagers of the situation.
If anyone would like to donate some funds towards the cost of the legal advice please get in touch with us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Holt Road Safety Concerns
Originally, the Highways Officer for Wrexham Council opposed the planned development on Holt Road, due to Road safety concerns but then he withdraw them. Now the plans for the Bellis land, approved by Julie James AM, Welsh Government Minister for Housing and LG shows that land is to be taken for a footway, the design of which does not comply with the Welsh Manual for Streets or the Welsh Government Planning Policy Wales Technical Advice Note (TAN) 18 – Transport Wales. We also believe that the proposed footpath design does not comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.
What is an LDP
Local Development Plan – Each Local Planning Authority in Wales must produce a Local Development Plan (LDP) for its area. LDPs include planning policies and site allocations which, when adopted, are used to determine planning applications.Before adopting an LDP, Local Planning Authorities must submit the plan to the Welsh Government for independent examination by a Planning Inspector. Inspectors assess whether LDPs are ‘sound’ and can be adopted by the Local Planning Authority.
The Welsh Government has identified a series of tests of ‘soundness’ which are set out in paragraph 8.2.1 of the LDP Manual. When preparing LDPs, Local Planning Authorities must adhere to this and other Welsh Government policy/guidance, including Planning Policy Wales, Technical Advice Notes and the LDP Manual. These and other policy/guidance documents can be found on the Welsh Government website.
Continued on next post ………….
Local Development Plan – Next Hearing
On the 11th March 2020 there is another public LDP hearing in Wrexham Memorial Hall commencing 09:30. The hearing is specifically on Housing Provision, note that Rossett’s Bellis site is still included in the list for sites to be developed. If we can get the site removed this will cause some serious embarrassment, this however seems most unlikely as the Inspectors seem to have been briefed by Government Officials to get the LDP approved at all costs. The agenda and submitted statements by objectors and developers can be found here: https://wrexham-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/additional_hearings_agendas_and_submisions
The original hearing on housing matters took place on 10th October 2019. Following the hearing it was clear that the Inspectors were not happy at the way the sites had been selected by Council Officers. This however was before the Government Ministers intervention. The agenda and submissions can be found here: https://wrexham-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/examination_agendas_and_statements
Rossett Focus Group members have submitted statements for the hearing on the 11th. My statement questions the validity of the population growth and subsequent housing numbers being used by the council. In 2014 the population of Wrexham was 135,913; four years later in 2018 (the most recent figures available) the population was 136,126. A population growth of 213 persons. The Council Officers predicted population growth (as submitted in their LDP) for the same period was 3,485.
In summary my statement concludes: “the total housing numbers in the councils preferred option cannot be justified in the current climate. Population growth and dwellings to house a growing population should be expected to meet demonstrable growth targets. In commensurate with the council’s expectation of a significant reduction in the need for housing and a landbank of 3471 homes an increase in dwellings of 2,975 in the period 2019-28 seems a well-founded compromise, this would also prevent the irreversible losses of BMV land, Special Landscape Areas and Green Wedges.”
The Bellis fields are some of the best most valuable agricultural land in Wales (only 7% remaining), in a special landscape area, in a green wedge, on land that is prone to flooding, and unlikely to get flood insurance.
Newport Council had rejected the housing development because of a potential flood risk, but it was approved on appeal to Welsh Government.