Outline plans to build a housing development on land near a local garden centre have been refused for a second time.
A majority of planning committee members voted to reject the proposals for eight homes next to the Ferndale Home and Garden Centre on Berse Road, Caego, due to its location in the green barrier.
It is the second time that plans for the site have been turned down, with a similar application refused by councillors in September 2018.
At the time the development had been recommended for refusal due to ‘the principle of the development and its non-compliance with rural housing policy as well as highway safety matters relating to visibility at the access and the loss of parking associated with the retained garden centre’.
However the application had been resubmitted to deal with technical matters associated the reasons for refusal – including highway safety and parking provision.
A representative speaking in favour of the development at yesterday’s meeting, stated that the development would be in a sustainable location – which is “something the committee often refers to when building out of settlement”.
Referencing similar applications that have previously recommended for approval by the council, the representative added: “Our site and our proposal is also on a brownfield site and also outside the settlement limit.
“It is not within special landscaped area, it is close to the town centre, it is served with pavements directly from the site to shops, places of employment, colleges and a bus service operates directly outside the site.
“The site already has several buildings constructed, including the owner’s accommodation.
“As the officer has been unable to explain to us why in this instance it is unacceptable, I’d ask that committee members consider the proposal and give permission.”
It was also noted that despite concerns from the community council about road safety, no objections had been raised by the council’s highways department.
But planning officer David Williams reiterated that the development falls within the green barrier and that there had been “no change in circumstances since the decision was made” last year.
He added: “The applicants have used housing land supply for justification. IT is a material planning consideration – the fact we don’t have sufficient housing land – and it does and can carry significant amount of weight.
“We have to balance that with the location of the site in a green barrier and contribution the site would make towards improving housing land supply in the county borough, which is relatively insignificant.
“We are talking about consistency of decision making. We refused an identical application last year and there is no change in circumstances to suggest the same decision shouldn’t be made.”
However Cllr Graham Rogers warned that Wrexham Council could lose at any future planning appeal and face costs if the plans are not approved.
However Chairman of the committee, Cllr Michael Morris said: “When this was with us in September there were three reasons for refusal. Two have been addressed but the he fundamental reason of green barrier hasn’t been addressed.
“It could go either way in an appeal but we are sticking to our policy. Also in the LDP, which hasn’t been tested, we are reaffirming the green barrier in this location, where in other locations we are looking to alter it.”
Eleven councillors voted to reject the plans, with two councillors voting against the recommendation and one abstaining from the vote.
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