Proposals for 110 homes in Deganwy were rejected by Conwy’s Planning Committee.
More than 50 local residents, led by Assembly Member Janet Finch-Saunders, and local Marl ward councillors Sue Shotter and Mike Priestly, protested against the Marl Lane development at the entrance of the council’s headquarters at Bodlondeb, Conwy, prior to Thursday’s meeting.
Cllr Priestly, addressed the committee, saying: “This application is outside the Local Development Plan (LDP) and the settlement boundary and contravenes many of our policies. There has been over-development in Marl with hundreds of properties being built.”
He added there had been serious flooding in the area in recent years.
Ms Ruth Parker, a local resident, told the committee that there were 1300 objectors to the scheme, and that represented about 50 per cent of the ward.
Cllr Peter Lewis said: “As a committee we fully understand the concerns of the public, but we also have to consider our policies. More time has been given to this application with site visits, than any other application I can remember since I have been on the committee.
“We have to give weight to the housing supply needs, we don’t like it, but we have to do it. I am a farmer and it grieves me to see such good agricultural land being lost.
“One of the benefits of this application is it will help meet our affordable housing targets.”
He added he could not see any sound reason to defend the council if the application was refused and it came to an appeal against the decision.
Cllr Austin Roberts said: “We are not here to make decisions with our hearts, we are here to make decisions with our heads. It breaks my heart to that we have to build on such good agricultural land. But the officers are professionals and understand the rules which they have to follow. If we go against this application we have to be ready to face an appeal. The reasons for refusal I have heard so far, are not going to be good enough to defend at appeal.”
Cllr Phillip Capper stated the application is outside the LDP, he said: If we go against the LDP what is the point of having an LDP.” He added there is not enough capacity in the schools in the area to cope with the extra demand the development would create.
Cllr Pauline Heap-Williams proposed refusal because of the visual impact the application would have upon a heritage asset, the Grade 1 listed Bodysgallen Hall and its gardens, and cause damage to its setting.
The officer’s report to the committee had recommended the application be approved subject to consideration of surface water drainage concerns, and outstanding highways considerations being resolved.
The committee decided to refuse the application by eight votes to two. The reason for refusal were the impact the development would have on Bodysgallen Hall and its historic setting, and the loss of valuable agricultural land.