As a number of you have been following the progress of the appeal regarding the proposed development of eight houses on Old Wrexham Road, we are writing to let you know the appeal inspector has issued a decision on that case. The inspector dismissed the appeal, upholding the council’s decision to refuse the development. The inspector’s decision is attached to this email, and it outlines the reasons for the dismissal.
The fact that the land in question adjoins the site of the proposed development on Vicarage Lane makes it of particular interest ahead of the forthcoming appeal regarding that site. We would encourage you all to have a read through the inspector’s decision on the Old Wrexham Road site as we feel so many of the issues dealt with there are equally applicable to the site on Vicarage Lane. Specifically, the inspector gave three main reasons for dismissing the appeal:
(Direct quotes from the appeal decision are highlighted in bold text)
- The development would be outside the settlement limit and would ‘represent both a physical and visual incursion into what is currently an area of open countryside’. The inspector also found that ‘by virtue of its scale and nature, the development proposed would urbanise and injuriously alter the rural characteristics of the appeal site, to the detriment of the character and appearance of its countryside setting’. The development would therefore be contrary to policies PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, GDP1, and H5 of the WCBC Unitary Development Plan, and would conflict with the national planning policies set out in Planning Policy Wales (Edition 10, 2018).
- The development would constitute inappropriate development within, and would be detrimental to the openness of the Green Barrier. It would therefore be contrary to policy EC1 of the WCBC Unitary Development Plan and the policies contained within Planning Policy Wales (Edition 10, 2018). Moreover, the inspector found that the contribution the development would make to the housing land supply did ‘not comprise the very exception circumstances necessary to clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Barrier or indeed the wider policies designed to protect the countryside’.
- The development would ‘unacceptably increase the threat to pedestrian safety’. In particular, the inspector noted that there would not be a sufficiently safe pedestrian route to the centre of the village as ‘there is not a convenient anduninterrupted pedestrian footway between the appeal site and Chester Road’. The inspector also commented that, due to the prevalence of on-street parking along Old Wrexham Road, ‘parked vehicles materially reduce the width of the carriageway and constitute an obstruction to pedestrians’. The inspector therefore concluded that ‘the appeal site would inevitably intensify the use of Old Wrexham Road by both vehicles and pedestrians and would therefore exacerbate the foregoing problems, to the detriment of pedestrian safety’. The development would therefore be in conflict with policies PS4, GDP1(d)(e), and T9 of the WCBC Unitary Development Plan, the policies set out in Planning Policy Wales (Edition 10, 2018), and the guidance set out in Welsh Government Technical Advice Note 18: Transport (TAN18).
As you can see, there are clear parallels here with the proposed development on Vicarage Lane, which was refused by WCBC on the grounds that:
- it would be unacceptable development outside of the settlement limit and within the Green Barrier and a Special Landscape Area, and
- the lack of a continuous footway and the increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic generated by the development would be detrimental to pedestrian safety.
We would therefore encourage you to take note of the Old Wrexham Road appeal decision and to refer to the findings of the inspector when the time comes to make your representations as part of the appeal regarding the Vicarage Lane site.
As yet, we still have not received any more information on the timetable for the Vicarage Lane appeal, but be assured that we will inform you as soon as we know anything. We will also be updating the Latest News section of our website with any further developments/information.
As always, if you have any comments or questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Vicarage Lane Action Group