Flintshire Deposit LDP (2015-2030)

Flintshire CC Cabinet met on 16 July 2019 and agreed: ‘To recommend approval of the Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) to County Council.’

Flintshire CC held a special meeting on 23 July 2019: ‘To approve the Deposit Local Development Plan on the recommendation of Cabinet, to be taken forward for public consultation in line with the timescales in the Revised Delivery Agreement (DA, June 2019).’

The slide presentation given to the meeting can be viewed by clicking the following link. One slide shows the 11 Sites allocated in the LDP for housing. None of the Gwernaffield candidate sites have been selected.

http://committeemeetings.flintshire.gov.uk/documents/s55673/Item%206%20-%20LDP%20presentation%20slides.pptx.pdf?LLL=0

The County Council voted 46 in favour and 4 abstentions (with 13 apologies for absence also recorded). The webcast of the meeting can be seen by clicking on the following link. It is worth watching:

https://flintshire.public-i.tv/site/mg_bounce.php?mg_a_id=19179&mg_m_id=4603&language=en_GB

The full ‘Flintshire LDP 2015-2030 – Deposit Plan September 2019’ approved by the County Council can be viewed by clicking on the following link.

http://committeemeetings.flintshire.gov.uk/documents/s55581/Enc.%201%20-%20Flintshire%20LDP%20Deposit%20Plan.pdf?LLL=0

The Deposit LDP will now go out for 6 weeks public consultation, commencing 30 September 2019 up to 11 November 2019. Comments will be considered by the CC and it is intended that the LDP will then be submitted to the Welsh Government in summer 2020. After formal examination by the Planning Inspector it is anticipated that the final LDP will be adopted by Summer 2021.

Impact of Deposit LDP upon Gwernaffield.

Classification

Gwernaffield is classed as a Rural Defined Village, with a settlement boundary where:

‘housing development will only be permitted within settlement boundaries related to the scale, character and role of the settlement and which delivers local needs affordable housing. Provision will include:

i. Windfall market housing (only permitted when essential to delivering affordable housing)

ii. Small Scale Exceptions Schemes for Affordable Housing adjoining settlement boundaries.

Housing

The Deposit LDP anticipates that only 2% of the projected 7,950 new houses will be built in the 17 Defined Villages during the life of he plan. These will be ‘towards providing for predominantly local needs based housing in rural areas.’

‘In Defined Villages new development is related to meeting proven local needs for housing, whether on windfall sites within a settlement boundary or small scale exceptions schemes on the edge of defined settlement boundaries. However, in the case of windfall sites, scope exists for limited market housing where it can clearly facilitate local needs affordable housing. The additional flexibility arising from allowing market housing should help improve the viability of local needs affordable housing.’

‘The Plan’s spatial strategy seeks to accommodate the majority of built development in the upper three tiers of the settlement hierarchy but recognises the need for smaller scale sensitive development to take place in rural settlements. The focus is still on meeting local needs housing i.e. for specific rural enterprise based needs or for affordable housing in Tier 4 Defined Villages and Tier 5 Undefined Villages, but additional flexibility is built into policy STR2 to allow for potential ‘cross subsidy’ on windfall sites in Tier 4 Defined Villages by allowing small amounts of market housing where it is necessary on viability grounds to deliver local needs housing.’

Settlement Boundary

The settlement boundary for Gwernaffield is drawn on the LDP map 3 (click on the following link). It appears unchanged from the previous UDP.

https://www.flintshire.gov.uk/en/PDFFiles/Planning/DraftDepositMaps/Flintshire-Proposals-Map-3.pdf

The Deposit LDP states ‘Settlement boundaries are designed to set clear limits to towns, villages and urban areas by defining the extent of land where in principle new development will be permitted subject to policies in the plan and material planning considerations. The settlement boundaries are shown on the proposals maps.’

‘Outside settlement boundaries land is usually referred to as open countryside. Planning Policy Wales paragraph 3.56 directs that ‘new building in the open countryside away from existing settlements or areas allocated for development in development plans must continue to be strictly controlled.’

Accessible, and Public Transport

The Deposit LDP puts great emphasis on all new developments being accessible, for example:

‘maximise sustainable travel choice by having safe and convenient access by foot, cycle, public transport and vehicles;’

‘it is sustainably located and accessible to non – private car means of travel, so as to reduce carbon emissions;’

‘reduce reliance on the car by incorporating more sustainable modes of travel first by walking and cycling, then by public transport and finally by private motor vehicle;’

It remains difficult to define Gwernaffield as an ‘accessible’ location using these criteria. 

The Deposit LDP also says that ‘New development proposals should seek to promote the use of passenger transport services’ and that they should ‘ensure enhanced or new passenger transport facilities and services connecting communities to areas of opportunity including employment, education, health facilities, retail, leisure and social activities;’.

However, the only bus service to Gwernaffield still remains in potential jeopardy.

Sustainability

The Deposit LDP states ‘Community facilities are an essential part of the sustainability and well-being of local communities and new development or a change of use should not result in the loss of community facilities. For communities to be sustainable, they need to contain or have access to a range of community facilities and services such as shops, public houses, village halls etc.’

Gwernaffield has one pub and a village hall but not a range of community facilities, which is presumably why it has not been classified as a tier 3 ‘Sustainable Village’.

Impact upon Coppy Farm Planning Application

The Deposit LDP would appear to reinforce the CC’s previous decision that this candidate site was unsuitable. However, the fact that the LDP has not yet been finally adopted may still leave Gwernaffield susceptible to such speculative development attempts.

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GWERNAFFIELD SAYS NO!