PLANS to build up to 350 new homes on farmland in Old Colwyn have been slammed by angry councillors and residents.
Those against the proposals for Peulwys Farm say the plans will cause traffic congestion, put a strain on services such as GP surgeries and schools, and lead to the loss of agricultural land.
Conwy is currently consulting the public over its new replacement Local Development plan (RLDP), which governs what can be built and where from late 2024, including five sites set aside for significant development.
The council, which is in the middle of a serious housing crisis, has also come under fire from objectors who say the ongoing public consultation is ill-thought out and lacking in information.
The council’s website includes a brief description of the five sites proposed across the county as well as the number of houses – and a list of public information sessions taking place.
But more comprehensive information – such as detailed maps, road plans, and predictions on how up to 800 new homes will impact the county – are missing.
Instead the council has organised a series of workshops as part of the consultation between now and mid-January.
Old Colwyn councillor Cheryl Carlisle said residents were worried about the proposals for Peulwys Farm. Cllr Carlisle said she was calling a public meeting to discuss the plans for the village together with Cllr Neil Coverley and Cllr Gail Jones.
“We want to hear the views of the residents. It is a big topic of conversation in the village,” she said.
“Residents are very worried, indeed. It is a major development. It is going to affect every aspect of people’s lives, be it trying to get a doctor’s appointment or trying to get children into school. Conwy talk about a nature emergency, and yet they are prepared to rip up hundreds of acres of beautiful, productive arable land for concrete boxes and then complain about increased emissions and lack of arable land for producing food.
“There are many reasons why this isn’t a good idea for this area of Old Colwyn. It won’t be what young people want – that is affordable homes. These are going to be large family homes.
“I can’t see the benefit for Old Colwyn. It will lead to massive traffic congestion and pollution. Our schools are currently at capacity.
Where is the money coming from for new school extensions, more teachers, more support staff? The main sticking point is the GPs. Theyare at capacity and working flat out, extremely pressed. The GPs surgeries are at breaking point as they are.”
She added: “The public consultation workshops are not adequate. One is online, and working people and those not computer literate won’t be able to take part. The second is just two hours in January. That is supposed to be a public consultation – it is absolutely not enough. This proposal will change the face of our village forever. It is so poorly thought out.”
“The impact on the already overly congested Marine roundabout and Coed Coch Road of possibly 500 extra cars every day will be catastrophic for local residents, businesses, emergency services, our school children, and the environment.”
Brian Cossey is the treasurer of the Old Colwyn Residents’ Association, who are holding a meeting next week to discuss the issue.
“Surely it will change the face of the village with so many houses foisted upon us,” he said.
“I will be going along to the consultation (session) to express my views, but I think it is too many houses being put in one place, rather than spread out across the county.
“The traffic is absolutely terrible at the moment. If they are going to build so many houses, the traffic will be a major problem. They are going to have to look at some sort of new road scheme. I believe the idea is to bring them all down to the Marine roundabout (on Abergele Road). And we already know that the Marine Roundabout is a dangerous section of the road.”
But Debi Hughes runs the Spellbound by Debi gift shop on Abergele Road in Old Colwyn and wasn’t worried about traffic issues.
“Traffic is bad on the Marine roundabout but only at school-run times,” she said.
“But traffic is heavy everywhere where there are schools. Old Colwyn is a bit further down from Peulwys (Farm) anyway. I’m sure that most traffic would go the Llanddulas way for the A55. In my opinion, most people would definitely take the Llanddulas route.”
Linda Hughes runs Colwyn Interiors, also on Abergele Road, and had mixed feelings on the plans.
“I understand people’s concerns. The roundabout is very busy in the morning,” she said.
“So 350 more houses – and most houses have two cars – I do understand the traffic concerns, and coming down that hill on Dolwen Road is quite narrow. But half of me would like to see more houses because obviously my business is making curtains and blinds, so hopefully I would benefit from it, but that is the selfish part of my business brain.
“There has recently been two developments in that area, but I’m a local Old Colwyn girl born and bred, and it is hard to get an appointment at the doctors and dentists – they are not even taking on private patients. So having that much of a population (growth) is a bit worrying, so half of me wants it and half of me doesn’t.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy County Council commented: “These sites are potential allocations in the Replacement LDP. The LDP process takes several years to complete and will not be in place until late 2024/early 2025.
“This is an opportunity for residents to have early input into potential sites so that their views can be incorporated before site details are drawn up. In response to feedback that the community wanted to get involved as soon as they could, these engagement events are in addition to the standard LDP stages and consultation.”
She added: “Further formal consultation with the public will take place next year on the Replacement LDP strategy, policies, and sites.”
The Replacement Local Development Plan proposes the following number of homes in the following areas:
80-120 new homes at land at Penloyn, Llanrwst
100-150 new homes at land off Pentywyn Road and Bryn Lupus Road, Llanrhos
100-150 new homes at land south of Aber Road, Llanfairfechan
300-350 new homes at Land at Peulwys Farm, Old Colwyn
For more information about the RLDP and the workshops being held, visit: https://www.conwy.gov.uk/en/Spotlight/Press-Releases