Council to foot legal bill as controversial 75 home estate near Denbigh approved on appeal

Reporter:

Josh Morris

Controversial plans to build 75 homes near Denbigh have been approved on appeal.

The plans were approved by the Planning Inspectorate after a two day inquiry into the plans for land near Brookhouse Mills in September. They were initially rejected by Councillors against officer recommendation in March.

The Council has also been to foot the bill for developer Pure Residential's legal costs, which could run up to £100,000.

Building work is now expected to start in September 2018.

Pure Residential have criticised the Council for the decision whichthey say may make Denbighshire less attractive to housebuilders in the future.

But councillor for Denbigh Lower, Mark Young, in turn criticised the Planning Inspectorate as he believes local members know the needs of the area best.

”The planning inspector found that the council had failed to produce any respectable evidence to substantiate its case and as such allowed the appeal. He also allowed the appeal for full costs to be recovered from the council; our costs for this appeal will be approximately £90,000 - £100,000 and we expect the council’s own costs to be a similar amount," said Goronwy Owen, Land & Development Manager at Pure Residential.

"In addition to the waste of ratepayers’ money, the planning refusal and appeal process has delayed the progress of this scheme and the delivery of new housing in Denbighshire by some 17 months.

"This is the third successful planning appeal that we have won in Denbighshire recently however it does concern us that the county councillors do not appear to appreciate that their decisions are impacting negatively on the level of development in the county.

"The councillors do not appear to understand the economic benefits that stem from residential development being allowed to happen, especially on sites allocated by themselves.

"We have to question whether the decisions relating to planning applications for major developments such as this one should now be taken away from the county councillors and made elsewhere."

The land at Cae Topyn is allocated for housing in the Local Development Plan.

“I’m hugely disappointed that they’ve overturned the decision of the elected members,” said Mr Young.

"It’s a sad day for democracy in Wales where you can have a decision by a local committee who voted against a development in such numbers overturned, and I find it shocking that Cardiff believe they can overturn local democracy.

"The question to me is whether Welsh Government should interfere with local decision making

"I represent the people of Lower Denbigh and Denbighshire, we had 24 to one vote against a policy, so should some bloke in Cardiff pass it?

"On the the cost, we shouldn't be in this position, if you believe in democracy the costs shouldn't happening.

"Welsh Government  have put this in place, and I would put it out there that the people who represent and live in a ward have a greater understanding that someone in Cardiff.

"You can't put a cost on democracy."

“The reason they say they are doing this is that Denbighshire doesn’t have five year housing stock, but what I would say to that is that we have over 3,000 housing plots not built on and not sold, so that would indicate to me that to say we need another 7,500 plots is incorrect.

"If there was a massively high undersupply of homes, you wouldn’t have these 3,000 undeveloped.”

Email:

josh.morris@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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