Monday 17 December 2012

Shh! 'twas a week before Christmas.. and the council submit plans for the controversial new school

Just to let any interested parties know, a week before Christmas, the council has submitted the planning application for the new secondary school at Ffairfach Llandeilo, on a C2 flood plain and in the Special Landscape Area of the Upper Towy Valley.

Regular readers will know there was a hard fought battle to prevent the closure of Pantycelyn Secondary School, Llandovery including a Judicial Review, as well as opposition to the council's 'preferred location' for the new site, due in part to the enormous distances which some of the children will have to travel.

The whole plan was a subject of one of those typical 'consultations' where it appeared that the major decisions had already been made between the council and it's consultants. Opponents to the closure; children, parents, teachers, governors and townsfolk were charmingly accused (obviously!) of 'proliferating misinformation' and having the audacity to have an 'orchestrated campaign of opposition', fancy that!

It would be cynical of me to think the council are hoping that by dropping this one in a week before the Christmas break potential objectors may find far more enjoyable things to do than write to the planning department. The application (E/27510) was valid from last Friday (14th) but not published until today (17th), you have 21 days to comment, whether for or against the proposal, of course.


Anonymous said...

Carmarthenshire themselves state that schools should not be condidered on C2 areas.

Puzzles me ??

Emlyn Uwch Cych said...

WAG's TAN15 advice for C2 areas is "Areas of the floodplain without
significant flood defence
infrastructure.: Used to indicate that only less vulnerable development should be
considered subject to application of justification test, including
acceptability of consequences.
Emergency services and highly
vulnerable development [e.g. schools] should not
be considered."

"The flooding consequences associated with Emergency Services and highly vulnerable development are not considered to be acceptable. Plan allocations should not be made for such development and planning
applications not proposed."

There's a really neat interactive map here -
You can zoom in to see everything below 27m at Lovelodge fields under water.

Anna Mosity said...

Yes, as it says in the Strategic Flood Consequences Assessment - Stage One of May 2011 (link in previous comment by Anonymous)...

3.1.3 ... It would be inappropriate to locate certain types of development, such as schools, hospitals, residential units and emergency services in areas of flood risk.

... but that has never stopped CCC before.

The usual trick is to misinterpret Planning Policy Wales, ignore the fact that they shouldn't even consider C2 flood plain development for highly vulnerable development, and say that the flood risk "can be managed". This is usually by raising the land above the level of the flood zone. The Environment Agency Wales were told by Carwyn Jones not to object if the flood risk "can be managed" and if CCC say that they are going to approve it regardless of what they are going to say the EAW then just comment on the solution, ignoring the regulations. CCC then claim that EAW don't object when actually most of their staff are tearing their hair out.

CCC and Taylor Wimpey have decided the raising of the land is a solution at Stradey, ignoring the fact that "residential units" should not be built in C2 flood zone. The Taylor Wimpey St Asaph development was on raised land too. Just saying.

As for the timing of this application you are spot on. Limit the objections by submitting just before a holiday period and knock a few extra days off by setting the date a few days earlier than the plans are available to view. The other time they submit contentious applications is during August.

For the new Ysgol Ffwrnes near Stradey CCC had awarded the building contract to Scarlets sponsors WRW before the public consultation. I suspect a FOI request would reveal the same for Ffairfach contract.