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Residents fear Llanfairfechan housing plans endanger wildlife

RESIDENTS say plans for 56 new homes on green land in Llanfairfechan will threaten wildlife, put pressure on services, and are too expensive for locals.

Matt Christie of Castle Green Homes has applied to Conwy County Council’s planning department, seeking permission to build 56 homes and vehicle access on agricultural land off Penmaenmawr Road.

But residents say the plans will endanger wildlife, including the endangered Eurasian curlew, and are unsuitable for the needs of the area.

Llanfairfechan Town Council has also highlighted similar concerns. The residents have started an online petition against the plans which has already gained 668 signatures at the time of writing.

Resident Joann Fisher said: “We’re a group of residents desperately trying to save a wonderful green space in Llanfairfechan that is used by red-listed endangered Eurasian curlews for feeding and shelter,” she said.

“Castle Green Homes have submitted a planning application to build up to 56 homes on the site, yet sadly the plans fail to meet local needs and threaten local wildlife. Not only that, but the development could overload local services, especially the sewerage system, which in 2022 had 108 spills totalling 205.75 hours in Llanfairfechan alone.”

She added: “We know that Llanfairfechan desperately needs homes, but we want the right homes in the right place. We want to see homes that meet local housing needs, don’t put undue pressure on services, and don’t threaten precious wildlife.

“Multiple sites exist across Llanfairfechan that could provide homes for local people, not least empty council buildings and undeveloped land next to Bryn y Neuadd. What’s happening with these? And why isn’t the council insisting on affordable, energy-efficient provision first, as has been built with Cae Rhosydd in Gwynedd?

“This development would provide an unsightly welcome for visitors to our beautiful town and is already stoking resentment due to its disregard for the local community’s needs or concerns.”

Simon Cain wrote a letter to Conwy raising fears about the threat to wildlife and sewage spills and the potential effect on shellfish farming, citing an E. coli risk. Sharron Perry also wrote: “The development will destroy the foraging and roosting grounds of the red-listed Eurasian curlew, which is considered to be one of the highest bird conservation priorities in Wales.”

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Robert Benson wrote to Conwy, raising similar issues, whilst Susan Lloyd said the new houses would likely be unaffordable to locals.

Louise Hibbert also wrote to the council with environmental concerns, saying, “Most of us do not object to new houses in the town as long as it is on sites that don’t destroy precious green areas, the housing is appropriate for the town, and the housing design is future proofed to meet net-zero targets.”

Ms Sharne-Marie Bellis had fears about the loss of trees and the impact on traffic.

“I think there will be major issues at busy times with the build up of traffic on Penmaenmawr Road near the A55 expressway,” she wrote.

Mr James Earl worried about the town’s infrastructure being able to cope, such as GP surgeries and schools.

Dr Catrin Williams added: “I do not feel that the building of these houses would benefit the area and the local people enough to warrant destroying such an important and beautiful piece of farmland.”

You can find the residents’ petition here: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-major-development-proposal-threatening-curlew-habitat-in-llanfairfechan

You can view the planning application here: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-major-development-proposal-threatening-curlew-habitat-in-llanfairfechan

The plans will likely be debated at a future Conwy planning committee meeting at the council’s Bodlondeb HQ.

Castle Green Homes were contacted for a comment.