September 2018 Update from Redrow
Today Councillors Alan Wight, Roy Wakelam and Cindy Hinds met with representatives of Redrow to discuss the site in detail. We believe they were open and honest with us and these are the answers to our and your questions:
The Plan / Layout
What are the proposed changes to the site plan?
They have replaced many of the house designs with the most current Redrow designs.
They have changed the affordable homes as required by Flintshire County Council. There are now 15x 3-bed and 12x 2-bed affordable homes.
The total number of properties has reduced from 186 to 181. These have mostly been removed from the South West boundary (next to Chester Road and Hazel Drive) due to the space needed to be clear of building for the drainage solution.
We are worried about site levels, can you give us reassurance?
We expressed concern about the level of the new site relative to existing properties. We were told a site level plan is available. Reassurances were given that the new homes will not be overbearing.
Wildlife / Nature
Hedgerow treatment on the boundaries – is that it now or will there be more cutting?
The boundary hedgerows have all been trimmed. This is an interim cut. The next stage will be to further trim closer to the full extent of the site limit. The boundary is usually in the centre of the hedgerow and in an number of places there is an existing barbed wire fence to mark it. We have asked that the hedgerows are not damaged to the extent that they die on the other side during this work. We requested that where the hedgerows are established and thick, that the cutting is limited as far as possible. Once this cut is complete, a surveyor will mark out the site. Ultimately a fence will be erected to a 1.8m height along the boundary.
Wildlife protection– hedgehogs, bats etc.
We expressed concern about existing wildlife and how they will be accommodated in the finished development. A bat survey was completed and no evidence of bat nesting was found in the demolished building. It was acknowledged that bats may be nesting in the trees. We asked for bat provision to be considered, despite the fact it is not a development requirement. Similarly, we discussed hedgehogs and the reduction in sightings since ground works started. Redrow’s surveys did not report evidence of hedgehogs but the representatives acknowledged the local knowledge. They are going to review potential wildlife corridors and access through fencing.
Hours of work. What are the proposed hours of work and days of work? Can anything be done about the reversing warning signals on vehicles on the site – they are so loud?
Although it is normal for hours of work to conditioned by the local planning authority as part of permission, in this case there were none. Redrow initially were working to the standard 8:00am – 6:00pm (Monday – Friday) and 8:00am – 1:00pm (Saturday) but requested a confirmation of hours from Flintshire. To their surprise Flintshire, on advice of pollution control, have allowed 7:30am – 6:00pm (Monday to Friday) and 8:00am – 1:00pm (Saturday). We are going to challenge this decision with Flintshire.
Redrow informed us that in winter the working hours will be shorter in line with daylight. Sometimes they will request extra working hours usually for internal works - they have to apply for permission for these from Flintshire.
The beeping of the reversing sensors can’t be turned off for health and safety reasons.
Will it be a Considerate Constructor scheme?
We were told that all Redrow developments subscribe to the scheme, though this one is not yet registered, it is expected to be imminently.
Location of the site works and cement store
The site works will be located on the middle field opposite Gorse Close but closest to Daisy Bank Farm.
There are concerns about the safety of works traffic entering the site.
The site now has an entrance compound and it is expected that future delivered will have vehicles entering directly onto the site and turning there. There should be no parking on Chester Road. There will ultimately be a permanent reduction in the speed limit to 40mph, and Redrow have applied for a temporary reduction but it is yet to be accepted by Flintshire.
Can we instruct drivers not to access the site through the village?
This request was acknowledged and Redrow suggested that their buyers may make it a condition of their contractor terms.
Will there be a footpath on Chester Road?
There will be a linking footpath through to the Chester Road cul-de-sac as well as a footpath along Chester Road up to the entrance to the site.
Public footpath closure – when and for how long?
The two top fields, crossed by the public footpath, will be developed last so it will be some time before the footpath is closed. The only work on those fields will be to manage Newts and to secure the working site compound. Redrow see no reasons for dog walks not to enjoy the field as long as it is safe to do so.
Emergency service access – Hazel Drive / Kent Close – is there a risk of breaking through now or in the future?
There is no suggestion of a road link into adjacent streets. The linking roads to Hazel Drive and Kent Close are unadopted driveways rather than roads.
There needs to be road improvements at the top of Chester Road
This is a matter for highways and the Community Council will be seeking junction improvements, possibly including traffic lights.
Will Redrow invest in the community?
Redrow are required to make payments in lieu of affordable homes and for education contributions. They are constructing a Multi-Use-Games-Area (MUGA) which will become a community amenity. We have asked if they would be prepared to invest in other village infrastructure not legally required as part of the planning permission and this has not been dismissed. We will pursue this and report updates.
Marketing – village is in Flintshire with some passion about being Welsh rather than English.
The marketing reference to Cheshire has already been notified and changed we understand. Redrow are also going to review the wording of their marketing material with reference to schools and transport.
What is the timeline and will it be a phased development?
There are two outstanding planning applications, one for the change to the layout and one to discharge conditions. Assuming these are passed, the current groundworks to install surface water drainage will be completed immediately and the access roads to the site compound constructed.
Redrow are hoping to commence house building this side of Christmas at best, more likely in the new year. The show houses along Chester Road (either side of the site entrance) will be started first, followed by the houses on the right of the entrance, then the houses on the left of the entrance – down to Hazel Drive and Kent Close. Their intention is to have the show homes ready around May.
The whole site will be completed in 4 – 5 years.
Will any of the houses be leasehold?
The houses will not be leasehold but they will have a management charge to pay for the maintenance of the site open space and some of the surface water drainage solution.
How will drainage and water work?
The regular surface water drainage will drain into large underground pipes before being fed into the drains along Chester Road. We have pointed out the existing problems with the surface water drains around the Institute and Youth Club.
Their plan is to connect the foul drain directly into existing sewers in Kent Close. This will be a gravity fed system, rather than the stored and pumped solutions on White Lion and Meadowslea. We have asked where this waste is ultimately treated – in Hope or Terrace Lane. Their plan is to drill through to the drain underground along Kent Close to avoid digging up the road and hedgerow. We pointed out the recent problems with the foul drains on White Rock Road.
The mains water will draw from the supply on Chester close to the entrance.
Communication ongoing / notice of changes in activity.
We have asked to be notified ahead of significant changes in activity of the site. We have agreed to meet every couple of months for updates and Redrow are available for us to contact if there are specific concerns. We would encourage you to contact us if you are concerned about anything on (firstname.lastname@example.org).