Revised application for new Llandudno homes given conditional approval

PLANS for a development to build 49 homes on a Llandudno greenspace have been given conditional approval a month after they were initially turned down.

Anwyl Homes’ proposal is for these homes, 17 of which would be affordable, to be build at the corner of Bodafon Road and Nant-y-Gamar Road, Craig-y-Don.

This land, which is part of a registered historic landscape, is also based next to Ysgol Y Gogarth, a school for pupils with special educational needs aged between three and 19, and its respite accommodation, Llys Gogarth.

Prior to today’s meeting, the committee was minded to grant the application conditional planning permission.

At a meeting today (April 20), members of the Conwy County Borough Council planning committee voted 5-2 in favour of the recommendation, with two abstentions.

This came after Anwyl provided further evidence in relation to the impact on standards of education service and environment currently enjoyed by the school, after the committee had voted 6-5 in favour of the application being rejected on March 9.

This was subject to further consideration of the latest amended plans and additional information regarding noise impact, and to meeting other planning obligations to the satisfaction of the Development and Building Control Manager within eight weeks.

Anwyl Homes submitted additional information to address this issue, including:

• A Boundary Treatment Plan.

• A response to the Equality Impact Assessment – Sections plan.

• A Noise Assessment Addendum.

Previously, calls to reject the application centred on the potential dangers to wildlife and land at Bodafon Fields, the impact it will have on congestion on the roads, and the effect it will have on Ysgol Y Gogarth.

The Aberconwy MS, Janet Finch-Saunders, had also written four separate letters to the council in the last nine months in opposition to the development.

Llandudno Town Council had also recommended refusal, on the grounds of:

• The overloading of the highway network on Nant-y-Gamar Road, which would exacerbate existing traffic issues in the area.

• The impact on wildlife and loss of habitats for curlews, a species of bird.

• The impact on Ysgol Y Gogarth and the health, wellbeing and safety of pupils both during construction and when completed.

• Concerns about surface water management and the potential for additional flooding of existing wetlands.

Mike Parry, speaking at the meeting on behalf of the residents opposing the plans, said more than 300 objections had been made.

He said: “What a travesty it is now that they have been minded to approve. The noise assessment report provided by Anwyl is nothing but a sham.

“I really hope all of you have the sense to see a small barrier wall will not stop noise from generators, saws, and lorries, which will be horrendous for the pupils at the school.

“Please think of the children from all over the Conwy area with learning difficulties looking out of their windows at the school, only to see a construction site instead of quiet fields. Please have some empathy for their wellbeing.

“Anwyl shouldn’t get away with painting a rosy picture of the situation – far from it. This is a nightmare for the school and locals in terms of the traffic issues it presents.

“It will be a matter of time before someone will be seriously injured on that junction, and if you approve this application, be it on your conscience.

“You all know this is not right. We’re asking you all to think about your decision now, and its impact in the next 50 years on your children and grandchildren. Once the land is gone, there’s no going back.”

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David Rowley, chair of governors at Ysgol Y Gogarth, also called the Grade 3A land to be preserved for the good of the school’s pupils, of which there are more than 200.

Mr Rowley added: “The Noise Assessment Addendum refers to Building Bulletin 93, which deals with the acoustic design of schools. In our view, this has nothing to do with measuring noise in or around a special school.

“I quote from this bulletin: ‘This advice is for all those involved in the specification, design and construction of school buildings’ so it does not apply to Ysgol Y Gogarth.

“There is a complete and utter misjudgement with the approach of Anwyl by placing a microphone near the fence of a residential home for children to measure noise.

“The report shows no understanding of noise in relation to children on the autistic spectrum, who make up 65 per cent of the school population.

“The report fails to acknowledge that children with autism perceive certain sounds as more intense, which can lead to extremes of behaviour and aversion to school or Llys Gogarth.”

Councillor Frank Bradfield (Craig-y-Don ward), the council’s disability champion, added: “The noise report submitted with Anwyl is based on values for mainstream schools and domestic residents.

“No attempt has been made to understand that children with autism have a hypersensitivity to sound. Anwyl confuses sound with noise, and children with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) have a very high hypersensitivity to certain types of sounds and noises.

“This report fails to acknowledge, understand or investigate that children with ASD perceive certain sounds as more intense.

“Some noises can lead to extremes of behaviour, including unintentional self-harm, and that cd prevent children returning to the school or Llys Gogarth.

“Anwyl’s statement that they’d inform the school before any loud noises again shows a complete lack of understanding in relation to the children’s learning disabilities, communication problems, and additional learning needs.

“How will these needs be met should building permission be granted and a single pupil is unable to maintain their place in school or Llys Gogarth as a result of the disruption and anxiety caused by this development?”

Andrew Buroni, director of health and social impact assessment at Savills, spoke on behalf of Anwyl, having been commissioned by Anwyl to test if there was any equality impact.

Mr Buroni reasoned that that the development would go some way to resolving Conwy’s housing crisis, adding that the proposals “meet all planning requirements”.

He said: “There is an undisputed housing crisis in Conwy, the results of which led to the release of all contingency housing sites in the borough by an independent inspector.

“Conwy currently has the fourth-highest number of people living in temporary accommodation in Wales, and 1,643 waiting on the housing register.

“Additional noise surveys have been undertaken, and noise has been remodelled from this context, and categorically demonstrates that, for both construction and operation, noise at the school will remain well within the Department for Education performance standards for indoor ambient noise levels.

“The noise addendum again categorically demonstrates that, even for a worst case scenario, the residual respite centre would remain well within the criteria for resting and sleeping during both construction and operation.

“Consultation response to-date, including today’s presentations, do not present any new or unresolved issue.

“Highways have also confirmed that the now-proposed pedestrian walking signs, offered at either end of Bodafon Road, while unnecessary, are desirable at this particular location.

“In summary, the proposed development meets all planning requirements, addresses a very real housing need, and does not present an equality impact.

“There are no objections from any statutory consultee, notably nothing from the Environmental Health or Highways (council departments), and the committee report makes it very clear that there are no technical issues with the proposed development, and recommends for consent.”

Cllrs Nigel Smith (Kinmel Bay ward) and Peter Lewis (Uwchaled ward) also voiced their support for the plans at the meeting.

Cllr Smith said: “Having looked at the objectors and listened to their arguments, they seem to be more concerned about building on the green field site than the actual interference with Gogarth, but they use at as a leverage against the planning committee members.

“We have a corporate responsibility to look after the children at Gogarth, but equally, we have a responsibility to look at the tens of thousands of other young people looking to get on the housing ladder.

“As a county, we are far behind the number of properties that we need to be building.

“This is a small development; I don’t think it will create any further bother than the developments that have taken place on the site itself or adjacent to it in recent years.

“I cannot believe that people are using the children as leverage against us. It’s not just the children of Gogarth, it’s the people of Conwy.

“There are many things we need to take into consideration. This will be a small step in the right direction.”

Cllr Lewis added: “In fairness to the applicant, they’ve been in consultation with the Education Department and worked with them to address the issues that many of the councillors raised over the last two meetings.

“So, I’d like to second Cllr Smith’s recommendation that we approve this planning application.”

The full list of documents attached to this application (0/48610) are available on the council’s Planning Explorer page: www.conwy.gov.uk/en/Resident/Planning-Building-Control-and-Conservation/Planning-Applications/Planning-Explorer.aspx.

North Wales Pioneer | Llandudno