AGAINST ADVICE: Councillors give green light to new home
The new home will be built in the Llysfaen property's garden, Image: LDRS
Councillors voted against the professional advice of planning officers to allow a new home to be built in open countryside, outside of Conwy’s local development plan (LDP).
Land marked for development usually has to be earmarked in the council’s LDP, but councillors chose to ignore the countryside boundaries to allow a retired Llysfaen couple to remain in their village.
Councillors heard how Mr and Mrs Butterworth were aged 76 and 75 and had lived at their property at Awelon on Trawscoed Road for over 30 years but were finding the two-story property difficult due to their age.
Consequently, the couple applied for permission to build a single-storey house on the grounds of their home. As part of the application, the couple agreed to sign an agreement, ensuring the new property would be sold as a much-needed affordable home for subsequent future use.
But Conwy’s planning officers warned councillors they could set a precedent and questioned if the proposed property would be affordable.
“To grant permission here will possibly lead to other applications coming your way, and it doesn’t comply with national and local guidance,” said legal officer Rhun ap Gareth.
Cllr Chris Cater also warned that more applications could follow in areas such as Bryn Pydew where there were many large properties with expansive gardens, insisting: “The LDP policies are there for a purpose.”
But Cllr Phil Capper said: “The proposal itself is for a very small bungalow, which is actually adjacent to the applicant’s daughter. What are the advantages for Conwy? We have the release of a large family house to the market. We have an additional provision of suitable accommodation for older people, and additionally to that – we hear about the pressure to our social services – it reduces the possibility of financial burden on the social services department by the applicant, and his daughter will live next door to support each other.”
Cllr Andrew Hinchliff said: “This is now an extra house for an older person who can manage. We have so few of them. Our village in Llanfairfechan is packed with up and down cottages, and any new houses of any size are beyond the scope of most people. This is not going to be an expensive house even if it’s not in the affordable bracket. But it is still going to be somewhere where someone can retire from another house and free up a house. It’s terribly important we have houses like this. Older people have very little choice whatsoever.”
Cllr Phil Capper proposed councillors voted against officers’ advice and Cllr Andrew Hinchliff seconded it. Ten councillors voted in favour of the development with only Cllr Ken Stevens voting against and Cllr Chris Cater abstaining.
The application will return to the planning committee in November to be rubber-stamped as do all applications that are voted for or against officers’ advice.
Words: Richard Evans, Local Democracy Reporter
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