An application for a large housing development in Rhosrobin was rejected by councillors last night in a surprise u-turn.
Proposals to erect 117 new homes in Rhosrobin were met with fierce opposition from several councillors, despite recommendations that the proposals were granted.
The application consisted of 117 houses on land opposite St Peters’ Close in Rhosrobin. Alongside the proposed housing development, recommendations for a children’s play area and the introduction of a roundabout on Llay New Road.
The meeting was told by a Planning Officer that Wrexham has a deficit of 680 housing units due to the lack of five year housing supply. This scale of this particular application was noted as ‘inevitable’ given the limited housing supply over the next five years.
Addressing the committee at the start of the meeting representative for Castlemead Homes Nigel Thorns said: “Wrexham does not have a five year supply of housing land and Planning Policy Wales indicates in areas without five year land supply, there should be a considerable weight given to increasing housing supply and presumption in favour of sustainable development. This takes priority over local planning policy.”
The committee was also told that it became ‘apparent’ in the Local Development Plan Examination in 2012 that Wrexham had insufficient land for such developments; meaning greenfield sites outside settlement boundaries should be brought forward.
Planning Control Officer added: “The issue is if this scale of development is acceptable in this location. It is virtually on the edge of Wrexham, has good communications. It ticks all the boxes as fair as a sustainable location is concerned.”
However the proposals were met with opposition from several councillors, who raised concerns of the loss of green space, lack of details on the proposed play area, surface water and traffic issues.
Councillor David Griffiths described the application as ‘bully boy tactics’, adding: “I’m sorry if we have not got a five year housing plan, we haven’t got a five year plan. It does not mean everything has to meet it.
“This particular parcel of land building for there has been refused in recent years. The only difference now from that is we haven’t got a five year plan, which is now a three and a half year plan.”
Councillor David Kelly said: “My fundamental concern is that we make reference to the five year plan and not going to meet the requirements. But the scale puts us in position whereby we default determining of settlement limits and boundaries.
“Look at the scale and how far it goes to the north east. We are ending up with significant green barrier to the south east, which is three to four times the size of this development being locked out by this. The natural progression would be that would be that piece of land would up for development as well. It doesn’t maintain green barrier as the applicant states.”
Concerns were also raised on the impact 117 properties could have on the existing traffic on Llay New Road.
In the initial application documents it stated that the ‘anticipated maximum traffic output from the site in the morning peak is around 90 vehicles’. This is only one to two per minute and is not considered to be ‘significant’ in highway terms.
A four way roundabout was also proposed for Llay New Road to help ease traffic congestion in the area.
Cllr Griffiths said: “For maximum traffic generation the anticipated traffic out of the estate at peak time is around 90 vehicles. That is one to car vehicles per minutes, which leaves 90 minutes or 45 minutes to leave the site. I don’t think that is acceptable.”
Councillor Bernie McCann echoed Cllr Griffiths’ concerns, adding: “There is a 117 units and you say this will generate a maximum of 90 traffic movements at peak time? Are we saying we are going to restrict them to one car per two households? As I think it will be more than 90.
“I think will be more than 90. Anyone who uses Llay New Road knows its a very busy road. If you try get out of there on Rhosrobin side at peak times, it’s difficult.”
However the Planning Officer commented on the ‘fundamental improvement’ that would be made to highways in the area towards Rhosrobin, with the introduction of a new four way roundabout to help ease traffic.
A recommendation to refuse the planning application based on the development falling outside the settlement area and within a green barrier.
The recommendation to refuse the proposals was passed with 11 councillors voting in favour of refusing the proposed development.