"There is bound to be an accident" – public inquiry opens into Meliden Homes plan

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

Villagers turned out in force today (Wednesday) to try to stop a large housing development which they say would overwhelm their village and cause major traffic problems.

Penrhyn Homes are appealing against Denbighshire County Council’s refusal of their plans for 133 homes off Ffordd Gwilym, Meliden.

Officers had originally recommended that the application be approved but members of the planning committee went against their advice.

The Masonic Hall in the village was full to capacity for a public inquiry  conducted by planning inspector Kay Sheffield who said the key issues under consideration were the traffic and the effect on the environment.

The main access to the site would be down Ffordd Gwilym and The Grove, which is where the majority of the objectors live.

They argued that the junction with the busy A547 Prestatyn – Rhuddlan road was already dangerous and could not  cope with up to 266 additional vehicles. The roads are also heavily use by children going to and from Ysgol Melyd.

The average gradient on Ffordd Gwilym is 10 per cent and The Grove is steeper, which, according to several residents, meant that  wheelchair users would be unable to reach the main road, thus resulting in more vehicular traffic when the Government and local authorities were trying to discourage car use.  

Richard Jones, who lives nearby in Llys Celyn, told the inquiry he had had two “near misses” near the busy junction, adding: “Computer simulations do not show what exactly happens and by multiplying the risk means there is bound to be an accident.”

Walter Aspinall, for the appellants, said it was accepted that the 90-degree corner at the bottom of Ffordd Gwilym could not be negotiated at 30mph and so it was  proposed to have traffic-calming measures and/or a 20mph limit.

But former Prestatyn Mayor Bob Patterson said: “The residents will have to be consulted over any traffic-calming measures.”

Some householders argued that speedbumps would themselves be a hazard and result in damage to cars.

Councillor Peter Evans also pointed out that two other sites on the opposite side of the A547 were to be developed.  

Penrhyn Homes have agreed to contribute £192,000 towards extending Ysgol Melyd, to cope with the estimated increase in the number of pupils if the development goes ahead.

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