Thursday, 10 June 2010

Bodelwyddan villagers resist housing plan

Work took me to Bodelwyddan tonight to hear about the latest details in the residents' campaign to halt the local council's plan to treble the size of the village.

Denbighshire County Council has decided that, in order to reach its housing target from now until 2021, it will allocate 300 acres of good agricultural land just off the A55 at Bodelwyddan for housing. That will provide 1715 homes - there are currently about 850 homes in Bodelwyddan.

There were more than 100 people present and all angry with the council's failure to be present - neither the lead member nor a planning officer made it to answer their questions. Campaign group secretary Alice Jones did a great job in showing them up.

There are so many holes in the plan that the LDP could be a Swiss cheese but perhaps the most damning was that Denbighshire itself has recently fought against a half acre plot being developed for housing at Lleweni on the grounds that it was good agricultural land!

A member of the audience raised the West Cheshire Plan and asked how that was driving the Bodelwyddan project. The chair Derek Barker replied by saying there was a recent presentation by the chair of the MDA in Conwy and that they'd said the focus of the MDA in terms of economic development was now turning towards Manchester - even further from North East Wales! Barker added that the whole thrust of the plan was to provide housing in North East Wales while the jobs were to be focused in Cheshire and Ellesmere Port.

He added that Denbs CC was only invited to join the MDA because it had spare housing land in the A55 area. This was essential because Cheshire West and Chester Council still has a moratorium on house building in the green belt and Flintshire has little land available for more housing, so Denbs was next. It was damning of the whole MDA strategy.

On the evidence of tonight's meeting, Denbighshire CC could have their LDP thrown out by the inspector because they cannot prove any housing need or sustainability in their plan to put so many houses in Bodelwyddan.

There was also great concern that a London based property speculator called Barwoods had got involved in the process to early and was dictating to the council. This one, as they say, will run and run.


Jac o' the North said...

Good to see that the residents of Bodelwyddan fully understand the issue and the underlying reasons for this insanity.

To save the Cheshire green belt housing is needed in Denbighshire. It's commuter colonialism.

P.S.In the opening para did you really mean "half"? Surely 'halt'?

Plaid Whitegate said...

Correct! It was late when I posted. Now amended.

Another interesting fact is that Bodelwyddan has already seen 350 homes built in the past 10 years - previously it was a village of 500 homes. So it has seen rapid expansion already and villagers recognise that enough is enough.

If not, the A55 is going to become one long ribbon development of commuter towns and villages with no jobs or adequate services, just boxes for commuters.

Plaid Queensway said...

I was annoyed to hear on the news that Denbighshire CC are now using the 'you will have to accept these houses in order to have affordable houses' line.

I met with two senior planning officers from Denbighshire around 12 months ago to discuss their LDP. In terms of Boedelwyddan, they stated they had to allocate such a high number of houses because of high levels of housing projections being dictated to them by WAG (these figures are calculated with a very high proportion being based on past in migration trends). They claimed they thought it 'more sustainable' to put the bulk of the housing in one place rather than have numerous smaller scale extensions to villages across the county. No mention of affordable housing at that point!

It's a shame that there doesn't appear to be anything 'local' about these new local development plans. Developments like the one proposed here highlight the ridiculous nature of WAGs housing projection figures.

Figures from 2008 show that only 48% of people in Denbighshire identify with being Welsh, I wonder which direction those percentages will go with the implementation of the councils LDP and the West Cheshire plan.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Bodelwyddan, it was a sad day when I heard the news of these plans. BOdelwyddan is beautiful with its unspoilt countryside, to build on it would be damning to North Wales and its outstanding beauty of that area.