7.1 – FPL/2020/150 – Bridge Street, Llangefni
7.2 – FPL/2019/217 – Craig y Don Estate & Cherry Tree Close, Benllech
7.1 FPL/2020/150 – Full application for the erection of 9 dwellings together with associated development on land at Bridge Street, Llangefni
The application was presented to the Planning and Orders Committee at the request of a Local Member. At the meeting held on 13 January, 2021 the Committee resolved to visit the site. The virtual site visit subsequently took place on 20 January, 2021.
The Development Management Manager reported the application is for 9 dwellings together with associated development. She noted that there has been no objections to the application by neighbouring properties as part of the public consultation and the applicant has submitted amended plans which include a landscaping scheme together with affording Canolfan Ebenezer with 4 parking spaces. The recommendation is of approval of the application subject to a section 106 legal agreement relating to affordable housing.
The Chair and a Local Member said that she had called in the application due to local concerns but she is satisfied that adequate consultation has been afforded to the local residents.
Councillor Eric W Jones proposed that the application be approved and Councillor K P Hughes seconded the proposal of approval.
It was RESOLVED to approve the application in accordance with the Officer’s recommendation and report subject to the planning conditions contained therein.
7.2 FPL/2019/217 – Full application for the erection of 17 affordable dwellings, construction of two new vehicular and 3 new agricultural accesses, installation of a pumping station together with soft and hard landscaping on land adjacent to Craig y Don Estate and Cherry Tree Close, Benllech
The application was presented to the Planning and Orders Committee at the request of two Local Members. At the meeting held on 13 January, 2021 the Committee resolved to visit the site. The virtual site visit subsequently took place on 20 January, 2021.
Councillor Margaret M Roberts a Local Member said that she was supportive of affordable housing in principle as local people are often priced out of their own communities but this application site in located in wet marsh land and which is essential to wildlife habitat. She noted that this development is also outside the boundary of Benllech and traffic and over development in around Benllech are not going to be helped by this proposal and when added to previously approved development in the area. Councillor Roberts said that local school is currently near its capacity with only 11 spare places available.
Councillor Ieuan Williams a Local Member said that his objection to the application is due to the site being located within an AONB area and in a local wildlife zone and he referred to planning policy AMG 6 – protecting sites of regional or local significance within the Joint Local Development Plan which states that site which cause direct or indirect harm to the local wildlife site or regional demographic sites will be refused. Unless it can be proven that there is an overriding social environmental and/or economic need for the development and that there is no other suitable sites that would avoid having a detrimental effect on sites of local nature or conservation value or local geological importance. Councillor Williams further said that an email was distributed to the members of the Committee by Mr Richard Evans, a former Ecologist from Welsh Government who lives near the site; he clearly states that this site is an important wildlife site and needs to the protected. He further said that it is important to note that the Authority has voted to recognise that there is a climate crisis and protected species needs to be safeguarded.
Councillor Williams said that whilst supportive of affordable housing but not on incorrect sites. This site was put forward by the applicant as a candidate site within the Joint Local Development Plan and the reasons for refusing this site can be seen at SP 146 of the plan. He referred to Denbighshire County Council and Rhondda Cynon Taf’s local development plans and noted that he will be applying to the Planning Policy Unit when the Joint Local Development Plan is reviewed that it includes similar wording as regards to protection of wildlife sites. He further noted that he is in opposition to the application due to overdevelopment. He noted that the Joint Local Development Plan has indicative provision for development of dwellings in each community. The Benllech area has an indicative provision of 90 dwellings but Benllech has seen approval of 147 properties already which is 63% over the indicative provision. He further highlighted the traffic problems already in Benllech over the summer months and the local school is near capacity as is the doctor’s surgery. Councillor Ieuan Williams considered that the application should be refused for the reasons given.
Councillor K P Hughes said that he welcomed the comments by the local members that they supported affordable housing and questioned as to the reasons Councillor Margaret M Roberts referred at the last meeting to such developments can create ghettos in places where there are little or no facilities for them. Councillor Roberts responded that when such a development is created at the edge of a village and with young families with no forms of transport, it can create a division within communities.
The Development Management Manager reported that the application is for the construction of 17 affordable dwellings together with associated developments and as noted the land is within the AONB and a wildlife site. The site has been assessed in line with housing policies and is found to be acceptable even though there has been concerns as to the number of dwellings on the site which has now been reduced from 29 to 17 dwellings to reflect the local need that exists in the area. The Joint Planning Unit agrees that it conforms to housing policies and there are no objections from the statutory consultees as regards to this development. She noted that the wildlife site is approximately 57.959 square meters and part of the application site which is located within the wildlife site is 7.847 metres square which is approximately 13.5% of the site. She noted that the email by Mr Roberts Evans referred to by Councillor I Williams is within the planning file of this application and she said that there is no reason to disagree with the comments within the correspondence. She read out part of the email which states ‘the land has been neglected due to the lack of management and Gors Efail Newydd falls into this category. It has had limited management for many years as supported by the ecological survey’.
The Development Management Manger further said that whilst the land continues to deteriorate the planning authority does not have the authority to insist that it is managed appropriately. The Ecologist Officer has specified that the proposed development would be located within the worst part of the site and it is intended to impose a section 106 legal agreement on any approval of the application to insist on the management of the site for it to be restored as a wildlife site and ecological enhancement measures and to contribute towards open space together with affordable housing provision and play area facilities. There is no requirement for an educational contribution as a result of this application.
She referred to the local member’s comments that the site lies within the AONB but the sheds and gardens of the existing dwellings near the site are on the boundary of the AONB and as part of this proposal there is an intention to landscape the boundary around this development to create a clear definitive edge around the new development. The existing dwellings near the site are predominantly white in colour and it is intended that the proposed dwellings are to be a darker colour to be a more sympathetic edge of the settlement in comparison to the existing form of development. The Development Management Manager further said that as part of the planning policies there is no need to consider if there are other appropriate sites as part of the housing policies as this is an exception site. She further said that following the comments of NRW a condition will need to be attached as regards to a lighting plan.
The Development Management Manager said that the recommendation is of approval as there are no other sites available for such a development in the area.
Councillor Dafydd Roberts said that there is no mention of a future wildlife plan attached to the conditions attached to any approval of the application. The Development Management Manager responded that it is understood that there has been discussion between the developer and the landowner and there has been agreement between them regarding these measures. She referred to the report as regards to measures to include managing willows, conservation grazing and effective monitoring by vegetation surveys and reports and it will be part of the S106 legal agreement and a management plan will need to be formed as part of that legal agreement.
Councillor K P Hughes referred to the Authority’s Local Development Plan and the aim of the people of Anglesey to be able to prosper. He said that he was surprised that two local members were against good quality affordable housing to address local need in the area. The Joint Local Development Plan has been adopted by this Council and opportunities to review the plan will not be possible for a number of years and therefore the Authority must conform to the planning policies within the Plan. He considered that the application will not have a detrimental effect on the local community and conform to local planning policies for affordable housing. Councillor K P Hughes proposed that the application be approved and Councillor Eric W Jones seconded the proposal.
Councillor Vaughan Hughes said that he as a local member has been in local meetings in Benllech regarding this application and the other two local members who have spoken at this meeting are expressing the views of the majority of the local community. He further said that the Joint Planning Policy Unit considers that there are better sites available and the definition of small development needs to be defined and Benllech is in danger of overdevelopment and effect the tourism in the area. He noted that the local primary school is full to capacity. Councillor Vaughan Hughes proposed that the application be refused and Councillor John Griffith seconded the proposal of refusal.
It was RESOLVED to refuse the application contrary to the Officer’s recommendations as it is deemed that the application is contrary to planning policies AMG6 and TAI 16.
In accordance with the requirements of the Council’s Constitution, the application was automatically deferred to the next meeting to allow Officers the opportunity to prepare a report on the reasons given for approving the application.