North East Wales

Bodelwyddan villagers lose homes plan fight

Residents have lost a fight against plans for up to 2,000 new homes in the Denbighshire village of Bodelwyddan.

County councillors narrowly voted in favour of the proposals with the committee chair's casting vote proving crucial as the issue was tied.

Protesters said the scheme would be a "distaster" for the community.

But Denbighshire council said there had been a "vast amount of consultation" and it had tried to allay worries in meetings and contact with people.

Plaid Cymru's new North Wales AM Llyr Huws Gruffydd joined the protest group.

He claimed the authority was "riding roughshod over local opinion" and trying to "dump" all its housing issues on one community.

"There is no justification for continuing the over-development of our countryside without taking account of local people's needs," he said.

Opponents have been opposing the plans since they were first mooted in November 2009.

The main proposals affecting Bodelwyddan form a key development within Denbighshire's local development plan (LDP), which says the authority needs to build 7,500 homes across the county to meet a shortage between now and 2021.

Image caption Denbighshire's plan for housing and business in Bodelwyddan covers 100 acres (40.5 hectares)

The plan inthe village is for 1,700 new homes on land close to the village's Marble Church, along with retail and business units, a primary school, and a medical centre.

It would cover 100 acres (40.5 hectares) and include improved access to the A55. The village currently has around 900 houses.

The council has previously pledged to consider views of residents, holding several consultation exercises.

Action group

They also carried out a community linguistic impact assessment as part of the progression of the LDP as people were concerned the Welsh language could be affected.

Villagers set up Bodelwyddan Development Action Group to co-ordinate opposition.

Outside the meeting, one opponent called the plans a disaster and unsustainable in a place of "great beauty where farming is of such quality".

Another called it one development too far, adding that the Welsh language could also be affected by people with "no connection whatsoever with this part of Wales".

A third said the community would be trebled in size, branding the scale out of proportion.

The council approved the final version of the whole LDP and submit it to the Welsh Government.

It said the decision would allow all the issues to be reviewed by an independent planning inspector

Sharon Frobisher, the council cabinet lead member for Environment, said it was an "extremely lengthy process" and it was "vital that people had ample opportunity to comment on our proposals".

"We have considered all comments received and wherever possible we have included changes or comments suggested," she said.

"We acknowledge that there has been some opposition to some of the proposals, in particular a number of issues around our plans for the key strategic site at Bodelwyddan.

"Some objectors raised questions around the development, its scale and issues such as the impact on the Welsh language and culture. We have tried to allay those concerns through public meetings and regular contact with the local community."

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