Gower Homes – Chief Planning Officer – 44 Gresford Homes – Rejected upon Appeal

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  • #185024

    If I remember correctly, the Chief planning Officer recommended the approval for Gower Homes to build 44 new houses in Vicarage Lane, Gresford against the recommendations of other Council Departments. This nonsensical application has now been rejected by our Planning Committee, the Public and upon appeal to the Inspector on behalf to the Welsh Government.

    Now, this must pose a question on the motives or professional judgement of the Chief Planning Officer, given that Council Departments, the Planning Committee and the general Public were all against this proposal which from the outset could be seen to be a farce.

    The position of the Chief Planning Officer must now be untenable and a full, independent enquiry must take place to fully explore the intricacies of the Chief Planning Officers recommendation for the approval of this particular application. The combination of Gower Homes and the Chief Planning Officer have featured in many applications. If public confidence in the WCBC planning decisions are to be restored, a searching, independent, public enquiry must take place.

    We await the response of the Chief Executive of WCBC ?

    #185026

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    A rather insidious subtext to your post regarding the recent outcome of the Vicarage Lane, Gresford appeal.
    In all fairness, the Planning Committee have a rather dubious record for making the correct decisions when you consider the number of appeals upheld by the Inspectorate.
    Faith in the planning processes of WCBC will only be restored when the delegates have read the documents prior to meetings, vote on the facts presented impartially and not be swayed by those with the loudest voice.

    #185031

    In this case the elected Planning Committee cannot be the subject of any criticism, they have represented the views of the local and wider electorate. It is the single lack of uniformity between The Chief Planning Officers promotion of this application and other Planning Departments, the Planning Committee, the Public and the Welsh Inspector. There seems to have been, at the minimum, a serious lack of professional judgement by the Chief Planning Officer and he must be made to account for this. His position on many aspects of this application remains untenable as we, the council tax payers pay his wages.

    #185036

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    I still maintain my stated position.
    I have faith in the Chief Planning Officer’s recommendations on this and other applications placed before the illustrious Planning Committee. He is in a position where, in addition to having the knowledge of the relevant legislation applicable to an application, is uniquely able to apply it dispassionately. I sincerely doubt that any of the Councillors have knowledge of which legislation and guides are applicable, let alone read them.
    If we go down the road of being swayed by, as I said, those that make the most noise, why have a planning process at all?
    I suggest you view Planning meetings either in person or on line. You will be amazed by the Trumpianesque level of ‘debate’ in reaching a semi coherent decision.

    #185041

    Just for information, I was actually present at the meeting and one or two points come to mind.

    From memory, it was clearly apparent that other Council departments, from which advice is sought on all applications, did not support the application and their reports are freely available and were available to the Chief Planning Officer before he took his sole and very controversial decision to promote the application. You clearly fail to comprehend that this call for an enquiry has nothing to do with the Planning Committee but the process before it even goes before the committee. Do you understand now ? This concerns the paid officials task, their competency for the role and if there is any relationship between the applicant and the Chief Planning Officer. This is about transparency and the need for an independent enquiry. This case is different as the CPO went against all the advice if Council Departments.

    #185044

    Truthbeknown
    Participant

    Having attended and also watched numerous streamed planning meetings I can without doubt say that the the planning officer residing is one of the few to use any common sense. The Planning committee members apart from perhaps a couple use personal emotion to justify their decisions when in reality it’s rules and regulations they should be following. Mr planning officer is there to explain the rules, the same planning officer who recommended that the opening hours of the local chicken farm be extended and they disagreed, fast forward to recent appeal, granted and costs awarded against council. Our money they are wasting but hey- ho. I attended one meeting where Mr planning officer specifically warned against rejecting an application as it would go straight to appeal and be granted with costs awarded against council and they still unanimously rejected it. You could actually see the shake of his head in disbelief.
    As for Gower Homes the builders they seem at least to use local tradesmen and suppliers unlike the national builders who bring workers with them around the country, but as usual the NIMBY;S only care for themselves. Vicarage Lane seems to manage fine with huge articulated lorries travelling its length but not a few extra cars.

    #185063

    BenjaminM
    Participant

    Well said, truthbeknown. Encapsulated the situation exactly!!

    #185068

    TimRegency
    Participant

    Well, maybe some of the NIMBYs only care about themselves, but there are still a raft of remaining difficulties that cannot just be lawyered away.

    For a start, the fact that the lane is coping with articulated lorries at present doesn’t mean that it can cope with a new bunch of cars – the opposite is true.

    Secondly, the local surgery has pointed out that they are at operating at capacity and cannot cope with a fresh influx of patients.

    Thirdly, the area has already had two new building developments at the pavilion and Old Wrexham road. Whether a NIMBY or not, a local resident can quite reasonably argue that there has been enough development in their back yard.

    Fourthly, the cold application of the law doesn’t take account of the perfectly reasonable objection that Green Belt land should be a development choice of last resort. Why not regenerate Brown field sites?

    Have I missed anything out?

    #185076

    TimRegency
    Participant

    Oh, I’ve missed out the most important thing. If the planning officer’s recommendation was sound in rules and law, it would have been approved on appeal.

    #185078

    Matt
    Participant

    Surely the fact that it was thrown out from the appeals process is just the entire process working properly and the opinions expressed above in this thread are just one of many OPINIONS about whether or not this one specific planning case should have had houses built at the location or not.

    Nothing needs to be investigated – due process has taken place and there will be other planning applications in the County, which you support or don’t support AND for all balances and purposes it looked like the application was never going to make it through on appeal anyway.

    As far as I’m concerned, the system works as intended. Remember when everyone wanted the chief justices fired because they didn’t agree with judicial decision making RE: Brexit – this is just the same as that. No legislative process for approving or disapproving of something is perfect, but what we can’t have is people wanting individuals fired or systems changed because it’s not bending to their will or particular viewpoint of life.

    Maybe they’ll learn from the shortcomings of this application in future, maybe they won’t – but the planning board are in between a rock and a hard place because when Covid-19 restrictions are eased, Wrexham still needs more affordable homes built for people to live in but no residents want these homes built in their desirable locations, such as green belt sites and more affluent villages and the word NIMBY will be thrown about at them. Then the developers don’t find the profit from proposing to build on brownfield sites because these houses are not deemed as desirable by prospective home-buyers. The fact being that if these sites were at all desirable then someone would have built on them already, as it’s ready profit for the taking.

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