Carrog War Memorial

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Situation   History
Planning Application     Stage 1    Stage 2    Stage 3     Stage 4

SITUATION

The village of Carrog is built around a road (the B5437) running along the north side of the Dee Valley.

There is no ‘centre’ to the village in the sense of a ‘square’ or ‘village green’, the nearest is a wide junction on the B5437. The Church and the Village Hall are on opposite sides of the junction, the local school is merely some 50 yds. along the road to Bryneglwys and the public Telephone Box (yes - at the moment we still have one) is close by. We lost our village shop a few years ago and the 'visiting Post Office' utilises the Village Hall, so although there may be no ‘middle’ to the village in geometric terms, the area of the Church, Village Hall, road junction may be considered by many to be the ‘centre’.

The lane leading East by South from the B5437 leads down to a group of four properties including Pentir, Tanllan and Riverdale. Immediately ‘in front’ of Pentir (to the south of the facing elevation) is a small field between Pentir and the river, this field lies within the local building boundary.

The developer wishes to build on this field, the only access is via the lane at the junction with the B5437 by the War Memorial.

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HISTORY

For details of the War Memorial itself, see War Memorial History.

There have been three previous planning applications, all involving access via the same road junction.

In 1979 an application was made for a change of use for Riverdale from a private dwellinghouse to a Private Hotel.

This was refused on the grounds of access, specifically the angle and gradient of the junction of the lane with the B5437: viz.:

The unclassified road leading to the site joins the Class II Road, B5437, at an acute angle and steep gradient and it is considered that the increased use of the junction by traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development would create conditions prejudicial to the safe and free movement of traffic on the Class II Road.

In 1987 an outline application was made, by the then owner of the field, for the erection of a detached dwelling and double garage. This was refused on the grounds of access, specifically the angle and gradient of the junction of the lane with the B5437 and the detraction of the amenity enjoyed by the owners of Pentir: viz.:

(a).     The unclassified road leading to the site joins the Class II Road, B5437, at an acute angle and steep gradient and it is considered that the increased use of the junction by traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development would create conditions prejudicial to the safe and free movement of traffic on the Class II Road.

(b).     The siting of a four bedroomed dwelling with double garage on this relatively small site would significantly detract from the amenity presently enjoyed by the nearby occupiers of the adjacent property known as ‘Pentir’.

Comment.

In 1988 an application was made for a change of use for Riverdale from dwelling to ‘Guest House’. This was refused on the grounds of access, specifically the angle and gradient of the junction of the lane with the B5437: viz.:

The unclassified road leading to the site joins the Class II Road, B5437, at an acute angle and steep gradient and it is considered that the increased use of the junction by traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development would create conditions prejudicial to the safe and free movement of traffic on the Class II Road.

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PLANNING APPLICATION - Stage 1

In December 2005 the present owner of the field submitted an outline application for a single detached dwelling on the field, which existing use was shown on the application as ‘garden’.

Comment.

The application noted the height of the site above river levels and the comparative height of the opposing river bank. As the site fell within a flood boundary the matter was referred to the Environment Agency, who accepted a challenge to their calculations by Consultants employed by the applicant. The Agency have stated their maps will be redrawn, this excludes the site from the flood boundary.

On the 6th April 2006 ‘Neighbourhood Letters’ were sent to Riverdale, 2 Tanllan and 1 Tanllan. ‘Department & Agency’ letters were sent to the Environment Agency, Welsh Water, Denbighshire County Council Transportation & Infrastructure and Corwen One-Stop Shop. All letters offered the recipient 21 days in which to respond.

All three occupiers of the adjacent properties, Riverdale, 1 & 2 Tanllan all subsequently wrote to the Council pointing out the refusals of previous planning applications.

On the 18th April 2006 Welsh Water responded stating they had no objections and quoted a number of condition, which are probably standard terms.

On the 25th April 2006 a letter was received by Denbighshire County Council Planning Office from a neighbouring property (Glyndwr Terrace) questioning the capability of the foul drainage system to accommodate another dwelling utilising the drains.

Comment.

On the 28th April 2006, Denbighshire County Council Highways responded objecting to the application on the following grounds:

1. The unclassified road leading to the site joins the Class II Road, B5437, at an acute angle and steep gradient and it is considered that the increased use of the junction by the traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development would create conditions prejudicial to the safe and free movement of traffic on the Class II Road.

Comment.

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PLANNING APPLICATION - Stage 2

On the 3rd May 2006 Denbighshire County Council wrote to occupiers of The Cottage and Tyn Llwyn advising them of the submission of the planning application.

Comment.

On the 9th May 2006 Denbighshire County Council entered a letter in the Planning Application file dated 6th May 2006 supporting the application from The Cottage.

On the 12th May 2006 a meeting took place between Officers of Denbighshire County Council and the applicant at the site.

No record of that meeting is in the Planning Application file, nor any record of advice requested or offered or of suggestions made by either party.

Subsequent to the above meeting, Officers of Denbighshire County Council met the neighbouring occupiers of Riverdale, 1 & 2 Tanllan. At that meeting it was stated by the Council Officers the application had been rejected by Highways and therefore the application would be refused. It was added the applicant could consider his position and, if he could offer a new proposal with improved access, which would require a turning head to allow vehicles to exit the lane both left and right onto the B5437, he could submit a new application. It was repeated the existing application had been refused by Highways.

There is no record of this meeting in the Planning Application file, nor any notes of questions asked or statements made.

On the 1st August 2006 Denbighshire County Council wrote to the applicant regarding the acceptance of the flood maps, but also stating

…the highways objection still stands…

and

I am aware you have spoken to Mike and Gail from the highways department who have both advised you extensively on the requirements for an amended plan to ascertain if the current objections can be overcome.”.

Additionally the author states

I understand we are to meet, together with Mr. Paul Mead, on the 8th August at 9.00 am .... to discuss the application. Please give due consideration to furnishing us with the necessary highways revisions at this meeting in order to progress with the application.

On the 17th August 2006 the applicant wrote to Denbighshire County Council referring to the meeting of the 8th August 2006 and stating:

It was agreed at that meeting that we would submit further information as to how we would deal with both access and visibility issues, all other issues having now been dealt with to your satisfaction.

We now enclose a plan detailing the extra requirements specified at that meeting and in the format you required.

Comment.

There is a plan in the application file, date stamped 18th August 2006 by Denbighshire County Council with a notation in hand stating:

Detail section “A” to “B”

Stone wall to be lowered to a max 300mm height with visibility railings to be approved by the Highways Authority.

Nothing planted or erected above the 300 mm high wall within 2.4 m.

Land at (Part garden of) Pentir, Carrog.

Comment.

In the planning application file is an internal Denbighshire County Council document titled “AMENDMENTS TO CURRENT APPLICATION”.

This document, under a section titled PUBLICITY ticks the following boxes, Fresh Publicity, All original neighbours and All objectors. The boxes for New site notice and New press notice ARE NOT TICKED.

Comment.

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PLANNING APPLICATION - Stage 3

On the 30th August 2006 Denbighshire County Council Planning wrote to Highways enclosing a copy of the proposed changes requesting their response within 14 days.

Also on the 30th August 2006 Denbighshire County Council wrote to the applicant stating “The original submission is effectively invalidated and it is necessary therefore to restart the eight-week period within which the Authority should notify you of its decision, starting from the 18/08/2006.”

Comment.

Additionally, the neighbour and objector list were circulated with advice of the amendments, also allowing just 14 days for submission of any response.

On the 12th September Denbighshire County Council Highways responded to Planning, including the following statement:

After further negotiations with the applicant he has agreed to carry out improvements to the existing access on the B5437 and also provide a turning head onto the unclassified road adjacent to the site at his expense which will become an adopted highway. I consider these improvements will be a substantial gain to an existing substandard access and the small scale development proposed of one existing dwelling will not be detrimental to highway safety.

Comment.

On the 22nd September 2006 Denbighshire County Council wrote to the Corwen Community Council advising them of a site visit to take place on the 28th September 2006.

Comment.

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PLANNING APPLICATION - Stage 4

There is no further relevant information in the planning file prior to the decision to grant the application except for the documentation put before the Planning Committee. This document, for the first time, acknowledges in writing, the requirement for the War Memorial to be moved in order to meet the conditions agreed by Highways.

In the: PLANNING ASSESSMENT: THE PROPOSAL: Section 3. it states:

Members should be aware that details forming part of this application include a flood map challenge to the boundary of the C2 flood zone and alterations to the access at the junction with the B5437. These alterations include the removal of a section of railings and lowering the wall which in turn will also mean the relocation of the war memorial, the installation of visibility railings and the formation of a turning head at the entrance to the application site.

POST-PLANNING DECISION

It should be noted CADW have been invited to consider ‘listing’ the War Memorial and their conclusions are awaited. As of 29th November 2006 Denbighshire County Council are aware of this, the Conservation Architect wrote to an objector stating:

The memorial is not a listed building and not within a conservation area. As such it has no additional protection through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. However I understand that recently a member of the public informed us that he was to ask Cadw to list the memorial as a building of special architectural or historic interest. Should it be listed any proposal to relocate the memorial would require listed building consent. I would then be consulted as part of the process. We have spoken to Cadw and they have confirmed they have had a request to list the memorial and it is under consideration. We need to wait for a decision before deciding on what action to take.

Additionally

The War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923 states:

1. Expenditure in maintenance, etc., of war memorials

A local authority may incur reasonable expenditure in the maintenance, repair and protection of any war memorial within their district [whether vested in them or not].

2. Approval of county council or Minster of Health

Any expenditure to be incurred under this Act by a local authority shall-

(a) in the case of a parish council or parish meeting, be limited to an amount which will not involve a rate exceeding a penny in the pound in any financial year, . . .;

(b) in the case of any other local authority, be limited to an amount from time to time approved by the Minister of Health.

Comment.

This raises an interesting question. The War Memorial does not need repairing, there is no maintenance (especially now it has been re-gilded), and, it might be said, the only protection it needs is from the developer. Under these circumstances, does any local authority have any legal power to expend taxpayers money on relocating it, bearing in mind that time spent by Council Officers and their, and Councillors’ expenses, are all paid from the public purse in addition to any direct costs.

The War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923 (above) states clearly the conditions under which a Local Authority may incur expenditure relating to War Memorials. It does not give them the power to erect War Memorials and it is questionable if it gives them the power to move them.

E&OE.