A RESIDENTS’ association is campaigning for Conwy to encourage developers to build new homes for local people on brownfield sites.
The Old Colwyn Residents’ Association believes too many expensive homes are being built beyond the affordability of locals and says developers need to be encouraged to stop using greenfield locations
The association claims many of these brownfield sites – often wasteland – are being left undeveloped for years due to a planning loophole.
The term ‘brownfield’ refers to land which has already been developed or occupied by a permanent structure.
Now the residents’ association wants the council to keep a register of all the brownfield sites available for development, rather than continue to build on greenfield sites, which are often agricultural land.
The association believes such a register would enable the council to keep better track of what land lies undeveloped and then put pressure on developers to build.
Monty Slocombe and Brian Cossey are both members of the residents’ association and say they’ve already been in contact with Conwy County Council about the idea. But they say the council has so far resisted the plans whilst drafting the latest Local Development Plan, the plan that details what can be built and where in the county.
Mr Slocombe said: “There is a brownfield site on the junction of Endsleigh Road and Queen’s Road in Old Colwyn that has been empty for over 20 years.
“Then there is the Market Hall site in Colwyn Bay. It has been empty I don’t know how many years.
“Because this is a holiday area, there are second homes for people outside the area, which are empty most of the time, and people buy houses to rent to let. There are 41 empty houses we know of in Old Colwyn.”
Mr Slocombed claimed: “They are not using brownfield sites to the extent that they could. Houses are coming up like mushrooms everywhere. But they are not for local people. They are too expensive. They are for people from outside the area. I’ve gone around and looked at the cars at new builds in Old Colwyn – the cars are not locally registered.
“We want brownfields to be used before using agricultural land. We’ve been engaged with the council for three years. But the excuses we get. We’ve been told the Endsleigh Road site can’t be built on because of nesting birds! The council said they can’t get in touch with the landowner and that it is not one of their priorities – in other words, they couldn’t give a toss.”
Conwy County Council was contacted to respond to the claims made by Mr Slocombe.
The residents’ association claims once planning permission is secured by developers, they can lay the foundations without progressing a project so that planning permission remains without a time limit.
Mr Cosey a former councillor, claimed: “Because they put the foundations in, in accordance with the planning permission they received years ago, they don’t have to ask for planning permission again. Because they’ve laid the foundations, they can wait 20 or 30 years before they build.”
Mr Slocombe added: “There is enough land for eight homes on that land (Endsleigh Road) alone. But it is just empty and overgrown. It’s an eyesore.”
Mr Cosey said an area of greenfield land at Ty Mawr Farm, Llysfaen, had remained undeveloped for 30 years, despite the council owning the land and having planning permission. “There are hundreds of people living in hotels because they haven’t got homes,” he said.
“There is a piece of land at the Ty Mawr farm, which has been allocated for housing since the 1990s, thirty years. It is big enough for over 200 houses, which would make a huge difference to the homeless situation, and the Old Colwyn Residents’ Association doesn’t understand why the county in conjunction with the housing associations aren’t building on that land. The council own that land. It has been allocated since the days of Colwyn Borough Council, and it still hasn’t been developed.”