Wheeler Homes – Pre application response by the Community Council
The Planning Consultancy,
Pre-application consultation on a proposal by Wheeler Homes Ltd for residential development between The Rectory and Brackendene, Llanbedr DC – response by Llanbedr Community Council
The Community Council met on Monday 19thJuly to consider the proposal and concluded that in its current state it is fraught with a number of difficulties which will need to be overcome before we can fully support it. In the main many of these issues derive from the number of homes being proposed. We would like to see this number cut, and greater thought given to variation of the design of the houses and positions within the site, including single story/dormer, a mixed development rather than straight rows. Generally, the Council wanted to challenge the basis of the reports you have commissioned which are clearly slanted in favour of your proposals and in a number of cases don’t reflect the lived experience of local residents.
Below we list our other concerns:
- We note residents’ concerns that the density means houses very close to the site boundaries, which, due to the contours on the site will overlook existing homes. Reducing the density will help alleviate this.
- We have serious concerns about the safety of the access to the proposed new development from the A494. Whilst your reports suggest the visibility is acceptable for traffic travelling at the speed limit plus 10kph, the North & Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency’s own data shows that 1 in 8 vehicles is travelling faster than 37mph at this point. Speeding traffic on the A494 through the village is a major concern for 75% of residents and we can’t support this proposed development unless these concerns are addressed.
- We also believe that your figures for the amount of traffic the site would generate significantly underestimate the likely situation. For example the estimate of 8 return journeys at rush hours, seems far too low. These are family homes so it is likely that most will have two cars. Many houses are likely to have a school run trip and at least one if not two regular commuter trips every day.
- The lived reality of local residents is that Lon Cae Glas and other streets in the village are not safe for pedestrians – there are no pavements on Lon Cae Glas at present, traffic can be frequent to access the local beauty spot of Maes Famau, verges are overgrown and raised above the level of the road and the rumble strips are barely there due to wear and tear. Many tell us that cars pass too close and at excessive speeds. Walking to Ruthin requires walking along a trunk road with cars passing at 60mph and often more. Your reports paint an overly rosy picture of the situation for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and others. There is no safe crossing point on the A494.
- We will need to be re-assured that a suitable drainage scheme is in place, particularly for run off onto the trunk road with consideration to be given to using porous surfaces. Issues need to be adequately addressed to avoid local flooding, which we have already experienced at the bottom of Lon Cae Glas in recent years. The Council sees no information included on the obvious risk of an open stream running through the site and an open ditch which takes the overflow from the stream, both of which pose significant risk to children.
- We have concerns about the structural integrity of the site. The limestone ridge is fragile, with regular rockfalls onto houses below. We would want to see a full structural engineering report and geological survey covering both the build and ongoing stability with respect of the site, and neighbouring properties, taking into account the fact that properties in Lon Cae Glas are much lower than the layout of the development site. At Brackendene there is a 20 metre drop down a disused quarry face to the property below.
- We ask that an archaeological assessment is completed before proceeding.
- Residents report much wildlife activity on the site including bats and badgers so you will need to ensure a proper wildlife assessment is completed.
- We are concerned that there is nowhere for visitors to park at the play area (please see our earlier comments about residents feeling unsafe walking along local roads). We ask that you address this before proceeding to planning – and include provision for disabled visitors.
10. Given that site mustinclude a play area as part of the planning consent, we feel that the space allocated is inadequate. We would like to press for a bigger play area, along with a “residential green space” with a variety of resources for all ages (e.g. reflection, relaxation) including a small community orchard and picnic area as well as the play area.
11. We are delighted that you are able to create a safe walkway from the churchyard to the access road to the site. We’d like to see this footway continued the other side of the access road and exit into Lon Cae Glas (there is an existing gate in place). We also draw your attention to the request from the three households on the vicarage drive to erect a suitable pedestrian barrier from the new development. – this would be also benefit the new houses keeping people on the Llanbedr circular walk to the new Churchyard route
The Community Council is keen to work with Wheeler Homes, the landowners and other stakeholders to find a solution to all these issues and achieve a development that meets the needs of existing residents as well as new. If you would like to meet to discuss these issues in more detail we’d be very happy to do so.
Llanbedr DC Community Council