Plans for close to 100 new homes on former factory site set to be refused
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans to build almost 100 new homes on the site of a former manufacturing plant in Buckley look set to be refused.
Proposals were put forward in July 2020 to develop land on Drury New Road, which was most recently home to Irish company Glen Dimplex.
The firm used the industrial unit to build medical and commercial refrigerators before relocating operations to a purpose-built facility at its main headquarters on Merseyside in early 2019.
The factory has stood empty ever since with an application to gain permission for up to 94 houses in its place due to be considered by councillors next week.
It comes after Mold-based housebuilders FG Whitley and Sons claimed the site, which was originally created for Japanese eyeware manufacturers Optec, was no longer viable for employment use.
However, objections have been raised by a community leader, who said it was still an attractive option for businesses.
Writing to Flintshire Council in response to the proposals, Buckley Pentrobin councillor Mike Peers said: “It is clear that the planning authority’s intention is to retain the land as employment land.
“Big name companies have occupied this site, Optec, Airbus and Glen Dimplex, attracted by the location and the semi-rural surroundings with excellent road access close to the A549, and only a short distance from the A550 and the A55 junction 35 at Dobshill.
“It is a unique employment site in an attractive setting and should be retained.
“The applicant claims that the eaves height of the building on the employment site is restrictive at 3.75 metres, but three major companies have previously occupied the site successfully.
“The buildings are suitable for a number of employments uses and could be sub divided into smaller enterprises.”
Cllr Peers also highlighted the lack of available space at the county’s main industrial estates with 16 letters of objection lodged against the proposals.
No interest in the building
It comes despite a property advisor responsible for marketing the site revealing there had been no interest in the building since Glen Dimplex announced its decision to leave.
In appraisal documents submitted by the developers , Guy Evans said large businesses were more likely to move to other premises nearby in Deeside.
But the local authority’s chief planning officer has recommended planning committee members should refuse permission for the scheme.
In a report, Andrew Farrow said: “It is considered that the loss of this large area of land and existing employment premises represents an undesirable loss of land allocated for commercial development.
“(It) clearly does not accord with the current policy situation on the land, which crucially has been retained in the emerging Local Development Plan.
“Whilst the assessments may point to a lack of interest in the site presently this does not preclude future commercial developments.
“The site is considered to offer a high quality option for employment development in a suitable location, the loss of which would undermine the ability of the plan to provide suitable locations for this form of development.”
He also said not enough information had been provided regarding the impact it would have on phosphate levels in a nearby special area of conservation.
The application will be considered by councillors at a meeting on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.