RESIDENTS in Deganwy have vowed to wage a campaign throughout Wales to change Government policies which allow house building to go ahead in the teeth of local opposition.

More than 100 residents met to discuss possible legal action after the appeal decision to allow 110 houses to be built on a green field site at the junction of Marl Lane and Pentwyn Road. However legal guidance advised a case could not be made against the decision.

The meeting decided to start a campaign to change policies to suit better the needs of local communities. It is planned to create a newsletter to set out the best way to write to government ministers asking them to address flaws in the planning system. Additionally an e petition has been set up at: gethome/e-petitions/Pages/petitiondetail.aspx?PetitionID=1493.

Cllr Mike Priestley, who represents Marl ward at Conwy County Borough Council said: “I was really disappointed with the Inspector's decision on this site. But I was encouraged by the residents who turned up to the meeting and gave us a clear message to fight on and challenge the policies that allow developments like this to get the go ahead.

“My opinion is unchanged, this development is in the wrong place, we need the right type of house in the right location that will meet local needs and meet sustainability criteria.”

He added: “We are looking at a campaign throughout Wales to tackle the policies which are not working for local communities and are destroying our countryside. We want to get communities throughout Wales to support this campaign as the Government’s policies affect them as much as us.

“We have a group of residents who will spearhead the campaign and we are planning our strategy now.”

Cllr Sue Shotter, who also represents Marl ward, said: “The Inspector’s decision was really disappointing and now we can’t take the battle against that particular development any further. So we are shifting focus to see what we can do to change government policies which don’t reflect local need. Hopefully residents will be as active with this campaign as they were in fighting the housing development.”

Ruth Parker, a resident who was active in opposing the development said: “The news about not having a legal case is disappointing but it has highlighted flaws in the system. Although we have the Well being of Future Generations Act 2015 which states development needs to be sustainable, the reality is that communities feel this has not been met. For example, one issue in our case was the Health Board raised concerns about providing adequate services to the area, but because it did not object, the Inspector concluded the developer did not need to make any financial contributions. Yet the GP to patient ratio in Deganwy is nearly twice of that of the national average.

“Therefore to ensure developments are well suited to the area where they are proposed, and to address all other issues, we need to campaign for planning reform.”

Matthew Gilmartin, Managing Director for Beech Developments, the company promoting the Marl Lane development, said: “Clearly the council felt the development was in the right place when the site was considered suitable for development by council officials and all consultees as part of the Local Development Plan appraisal. The site was earmarked as the next best site for development where there is a clear housing shortfall in the Local Development Plan, which is not disputed. This view was echoed by the Inspector in reaching his decision and we are pleased common sense has prevailed.

“It is a shame the planning decision was initially rejected as this has served to delay much needed market and affordable homes being delivered, which will ultimately help those living in sub standard accommodation in Conwy county. The costs of defending the council will run in to hundreds of thousands of pounds for both our Sychnant Pass site, and this planned development.

“The Heath Board was consulted on the projected housing numbers as part of the Local Development Plan. It raised no objection to the planned population and housing growth target in the county and yet we have fallen far short of such growth figures. More than 95 per cent of buyers live local to our developments and an overriding majority of those buyers are first time buyers who are living with parents. There should therefore be a negligible impact on the health services.

“The council owns or controls a large proportion of the land listed in the Local Development Plan and members should exert more pressure on landowners, like the council, to bring forward sites for development to release pressure for housing in the county. This equates to approximately 1,000 homes in the county. The demand for properties at our neighbouring development Llys Marl has been unprecedented and in some cases we have as many as seven buyers details registered on each plot. More recently we have sold 14 of 18 plots within 30 minutes of our second phased release of homes, evidence of huge demand for high quality, well designed homes in Conwy.”