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Plans for picnic and community centre in Denbighshire village deferred

A field opposite Porth y Waen

PLANS for a new picnic spot or community centre in a Denbighshire village have been delayed.

Aberwheeler Community Council has applied to Denbighshire County Council’s planning committee, seeking permission for the picnic spot at a field opposite Porth y Waen.

But the community council is known to also have plans for a community centre at the spot in future, subject to securing funding.

The county council-owned field is currently agricultural land, but the community council want permission to use the site as a community amenity with picnic benches and parking.

But Denbighshire County Council’s planning committee unanimously voted to defer their decision at a meeting today after deciding on councillors having a site visit.

In a letter to Denbighshire, Aberwheeler Community Council explained their plans.

“The land can be used by the public to provide a safe and secure area within the village for walking, playing, relaxation, picnics, and for the general enjoyment of the outdoors,” the letter read.

“The creation of new vehicular and pedestrian access to the site, together with the provision of a parking area, will provide safe access and encourage the public to use the community land.

“The new access and parking area will also provide safe access and parking for the use of the adjoining play area and playing fields site.

“The intention of the Community Council is to provide a walkway around the perimeter of the site, with a number of small picnic areas that can accommodate locally manufactured picnic benches.”

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The letter added: “The Community Council has a vision to create more of this site in the future, subject to the necessary funding becoming available, and subject to gaining planning permission for the possible future potential uses of the site.”

If the application is approved, a new access point is proposed opposite Porth y Waen cul-de-sac and an access road in the field’s centre.

There would also be parking spaces for six cars.

The access point opposite the cul-de-sac would, though, result in the loss of over 15m of hedgerow

Six native species of Denbigh Plum trees are proposed to be planted at the southeast corner along with replacement hedging at each side of the access point.

But several residents objected to the plans.

Kate Jackson of Porth y Waen wrote to the council before today’s meeting, arguing other existing recreational areas needed development instead and listed her concerns.

“The intended use is unclear,” she wrote.

“Is this solely a car park or part of a wider plan with elements to be announced?”

She added: “The proposed entrance site is on a narrow road frequented often by walkers, horse riders, and dog walkers. There is no footpath on the side of that side of the road and introducing one will narrow the road further.”

She also complained ancient hedgerow would be removed to make way for the entrance.

Aberwheeler resident Nicola Bellerby felt similarly. “In my humble opinion, this lane is too narrow for an entrance to a community centre,” she wrote.

“There is already an entrance on the B5429 to the playground which could be utilized without damaging any hedgerows and is perfectly wide enough for proposed cars to use if a car park were formed.

“My primary objection is for the health and safety of local residents, having measured the actual lane and lived in our home for almost two years now.”

She added: “Instead of spending millions of pounds on a new community centre, why can’t the Aberwheeler Chapel be upgraded and used, which would cost much less and is a more sustainable way of using community money?”

Chris Dickson added: “We have significant concern over the positioning of the access point to the proposed community centre.”

The application will be debated at a future Denbighshire County Council planning committee meeting.