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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Government demands more details of Vicarage Road plan

The Welsh Government has told the county council not to decide on the controversial plan to build 99 homes in Vicarage Road, Llangollen until major road issues are clarified.

Castlemead Homes recently submitted an application to the council for the development, which includes a mixture of two, three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached properties.

* Mike Edwards's picture showing heavy traffic,
including a mobility scooter user, heading
for the busy Hall Street/A5 junction.
But the scheme has sparked fears amongst people in the area that local roads will not be able to cope with the extra traffic it will generate both during construction and when the new homes are occupied.

As part of the usual consultation process, the council asked the Welsh Government for its views on the application.

In a letter seen by llanblogger an official from the government’s Department for Economy, Science and Transport writes: “I refer to your consultation of 14 April 2016 regarding the above application and advise that the Welsh Government as highway authority for the A5 trunk road directs that permission be withheld until further notice while additional information is sought from the applicant and/or information provided by the applicant is analysed to enable appropriate highway observations to be made.”

The letter adds: “The applicant must provide previous and proposed Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) values for Hall Street/A5 junction.

“The applicant must increase the future year assessment from 2020 to 20 years from year of opening.”

Mike Edwards, a member of the action group which has raised concerns about traffic generation, welcomed the government’s response.

He said: “Members of Vicarage Road Housing Development Group are very concerned, together with having worries about several other issues with the application, that the Hall Street/A5 junction cannot cope with increased vehicle movements to and from a development of 99 houses.  

“The majority of the dwellings will be three, four and some five bedroom properties which would mean there could be between 200 and 250 additional cars using this junction.

“Llangollen residents know only too well of the existing problems they encounter at this junction where Hall Street/Hill Street meets the main arterial tourist route through town exasperated by traffic queuing at the Castle Street traffic lights.

“It is particularly difficult at peak times when people are going to and returning from work. This junction also gives access via Hill Street to the infants and junior schools together with visitors including coaches accessing Plas Newydd.

“The junction is also a hazard for pedestrians, wheelchair, mobility scooter users and parents with pushchairs trying to cross the A5 to access the Town Centre. So we are very glad that this aspect is being looked at carefully by the Highway experts from Welsh Government.”

Planning permission to build 54 houses on land adjacent to Vicarage Road was granted on appeal by Denbighshire back in 2001.

Attached to the original application was a Section 106 agreement under which the developer was legally bound to build a new access road to the site before the scheme was started.

The field above the main site has since been included in the Local Development Plan at the request of the Planning Inspectorate to encourage the building of more houses to meet local demand.

And Castlemead  recently submitted a new application to build a further 45 homes, making a total of 99 houses on four parcels of land.

A statement issued on behalf of the company by planning consultants in support of the application says it would not be economic to build the access road before construction work starts on the houses and suggests it should be put in place by the time the 31st dwelling has been occupied.

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