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Planning decision deferred on Sandycroft traveller site due to contamination worries

COUNCILLORS have deferred a decision on whether to grant planning approval to a traveller site in Sandycroft due to concerns about potential contamination at the site.

Flintshire Council’s planning committee considered a retrospective application to change the use of land hosting a two-pitch family traveller site, two day-rooms, and general storage of personal business equipment at land to the southeast of Willowbrook, Station Road, Sandycroft.

A 2.2 metre high wooden boundary fence, entrance gates with improved access onto Station Road also forms part of the application for the development which is already in situ on the former landfill site.

But concerns were raised by councillors that the land the site is on could be contaminated and opted not to make a final decision until tests had been undertaken, given that children are living there.

Planning officers had recommended granting permission subject to a raft of conditions including mitigation measures to deal with any contamination on the advice of Natural Resources Wales.

The committee heard statements from Queensferry and Sealand ward members Cllr Christine Jones (Lab) and Dale Selvester (Ind) sharing their concerns about the site, including about flooding and foul water entering sewerage.

And a statement from neighbouring resident Alan Wynne was also read out expressing his objections, particularly about a concrete wall built along the bank by a brook which runs between the site and his property, forcing the brook closer to his property and causing his fence to slide.

Supporting the application, agent Mike Carr said the development complied with the council’s policy for traveller sites, and there was no adverse impact as a result of it.

The site at Willowbrook, Station Road, Sandycroft. Source – Flintshire Council planning documents

Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab) queried advice from public protection officers to test for contamination given that the surface had already been laid.

He added: “Will they have to take all that surface in order to carry out those tests or is it just drilling it here and there?

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Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers (Ind) added: “What is it landfilled with? Is it chemicals, residual waste?

“There is an extensive history of potentially contaminated waste. It could be potentially harmful and we now have children living on that site.”

He added: “As a planning committee member I don’t feel comfortable approving an application when I don’t know the full facts.”

Argoed and New Brighton Cllr Hilary McGuill (Lib Dem) said: “I’ve got great concerns about contamination of the site as was it not the old colour works? There would be quite a lot of chemicals decomposing under there.

“I think for us to grant full planning permission until the tests have been done would be negligent of us. I think we should delay granting permission until these tests have been done.

“If these tests prove negative and there is no worry there then I wouldn’t have any worry about the contamination of the site.”

Members followed a proposal from Holywell Central Cllr Ted Palmer (Lab) to defer making a decision on the application until contamination tests have been carried out.