Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report that relates to a planning application at the Former Rhyl Rugby Club, Waen Road, Ruddlan, which has been called-in for determination by Welsh Ministers prior to Planning Committee making a formal resolution on the application (copy attached).




An application to consider a report that related to a planning application at the Former Rhyl Rugby Club, Waen Road, Ruddlan, which had been called-in for

determination by Welsh Ministers prior to Planning Committee making a

formal resolution on the application.


The Chair confirmed that there was a public speaker for and against the application. Due to technical difficulties the Chair invited the public speaker ‘For’ the application to address the committee first to allow more time for the other speaker to join the debate.


Public Speaker


Mr William Ward (For) – He informed members that he was a director of North Wales Construction Ltd the applicant of the application. He confirmed he had lived in Flint for his entire life and had the privilege of taking advantage of the Clwydian range and North Wales. This scheme would create a great base for others to explore the landscape. He stated the visitor economy was very valuable to Denbighshire contributing around 250 million annually to the economy, it employs about 5000 people making it one of the key employment sectors of the county. Denbighshire has a growing reputation in the outdoor activity sector and a policy that states high quality development proposals that support and enhance the visitor economy of the county would generally be encouraged and supported. This scheme is designed to be of the highest standard.

Members heard the scheme would create more than 30 full time positions, once opened as well as creating local jobs during the construction phase of the development. The application process had been challenging. It was confirmed that an ecology plan had been created for the site that will enhance the ecology and biodiversity. The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Joint Advisory Committee and NRW had reviewed the application and subject to the appropriate landscaping and lighting measures had no objections to the scheme along with highways department. Thanks was offered to officers during the application process.


The Chair stated that the Public Speaker against the application was still experiencing technical issues. It was agreed to adjourn the meeting for a short break to try and sort the issue (10.25 am).


The meeting reconvened at 10.40 am.


Public speaker – Sophie Edwards (Against) – Miss Edwards informed the committee she was a local farmer whose land bordered the proposed scheme. She stressed to the committee of the following reasons for her objections. First the scale of the project was unsuitable for the area and not in keeping with the characteristic. It is currently a rural area and erecting what essentially is a housing estate along with the number of people at the site would completely change the nature of the environment. The local council and residents did not agree with the proposal. The demand for such a project was not essential and local residents would not benefit from the scheme. It was felt the community would bear the brunt of the issues that result from such a project such as added congestion, the noise pollution and the eyesore of the development. If the application was granted the character of the area would be lost, wildlife would be forced to leave due to human presence, light pollution and noise pollution. Major concerns on the impact on the neighbouring fields currently holding grazing livestock. Members heard that the plans outlined a dog training paddock, and promoted people to explore the area and footpaths that run through our fields. It was unfair, dangerous and unsuitable to encourage an additional 200+ walkers likely with dogs to pass through the fields. Increasing the potential for dog attacks creating anxiety and stress for all concerned.

Members heard of the concerns regarding the sewage system it was noted that the service water would be discharged into watercourses and ditches this would cause flooding in bordering fields and potentially contaminate drinking water.

The suitability of the roads at the site was a concern. The roads are narrow, with few passing areas and blind bends. There would be more accidents, congestion and would be detrimental for farmers moving stock. 


The Development Control Manager provided members with additional information regarding why the application was being presented to the committee. Members heard that the application was originally due to be presented to committee in April 2021, leading up to that committee there was a Welsh Government intervention for the application to be determined by Welsh Ministers. The authority was then presented with a holding direction, meaning the authority could not progress with the application at planning committee. Welsh Government subsequently informed officers the application was presenting issues wider than local importance and therefore decided to call the application into Welsh Government. Thus meaning they would decide the resolution of the application. Welsh Government had requested from the authority and Planning Committee a statement of case on that calling. Officers were seeking from members a resolution for the application to provide to Welsh Government information from members for determining.


General debate – Councillor Joe Welch confirmed that a site visit had taken place. The local member Councillor Christine Marston had requested the visit. At the visit those present looked at the site, access road and the visual impact at the site.


Councillor Christine Marston (Local Member) informed members that the former Rhyl rugby club site was positioned in open countryside at the Waen in the setting of the AONB and the Offa’s Dyke footpath. The application was for a very large luxury holiday accommodation and at capacity the park could sleep 228 persons.

The officer report that the proposal did not fall into LDP holiday accommodation policy PSE12 which concentrated on static caravans, chalets and pods. The argument of officers was that the policy referred to accommodation that can be moved. No reference of the proposed seven pods was made, but focus was given to the proposed lodges. Policy PSE12 of the LDP prohibits new static caravan sites, reiterated in the Councils adopted supplementary planning guidance entitled caravans, chalets and camping. The explanatory text Policy PSE12 states that for inland rural areas such as this site, caravan development particularly static caravans of which the proposed lodges fall within the statutory definition of, can be intrusive in the landscape and damaging to the character of the rural area.

Councillor Marston explained to members that the officer recommendation was in stark contrast to a planning application presented to committee in March 2019. The Glyn Lleweni Parc, development of 1.3 hectors with a siting of 24 holiday lodges was refused and upheld on appeal due to its noncompliance with PSE12 which does not permit static caravan lodge sites. The decision had also been upheld on appeal to the planning inspectorate, where the inspectorate concluded that the proposed development was unjustified in its countryside location. Councillor Marston stressed as an authority the committee must be seen to be consistent in decision making following our LDP.

It was explained that officer had given more weight to the local development policy PSE5 which concentrated on tourism and commercial development for the benefit of the wider county. Councillor Marston felt this was a misinterpretation on the policy which was designed to support local and rural communities. Currently the site held a D2 use class which is support sports and recreation, this classification could be brought back into recreational use without planning permission. The proposal went beyond the existing use of the site. Limited weight should be given to the existing D2 use as the playing fields would be lost and covered with buildings.

The officer report stated the large scale of the development was accessible as it was visually contained and had a semi-urban character. The site was in open countryside. The former rugby club site was surrounded entirely by agricultural land; the actual site was 3.8 hectors with 82% of the site was classed as Grade3A good quality agricultural land and according to planning policy Wales 11, the land is best and most versatile and justifies conservation and should not be built on.

The accompanying tourism report, officers concluded there did not seem to be evidence supporting the need or demand for holiday accommodation of this type proposed in this location. Concern had been raised by Tremeirchion, Cwm and Waen that if this holiday accommodation proved unsuccessful then the accommodation would become residential, thus creating a large population in the rural area. The development would have an impact on the visual amenity and landscape character of the area. The existing club house building was a single story building with a flat roof, the proposed new club house was 2 story with a pitched roof and have an impact on the skyline. In total 38, 2 story buildings would be erected at the site.

The AONB advisory committee commenced that the lighting needed to be controlled to protect the setting of the protected landscape and dark sky ambition. It was felt this would be difficult to achieve.  The building sited in the location would have an impact on the visual amenity. It would clearly be seen from Moel Hiraddug. The B5429 is narrow, twisting and had blind bends and at times only wide enough for one vehicle to pass. This stretch of road is dangerous to navigate. It was her opinion the development would generate a large number of additional vehicles on the dangerous route on a daily basis.

NRW had reluctantly accepted that a private treatment works would be acceptable. The number of hot tub water entering the private treatment works on a weekly basis was a concern.


Proposal Councillor Marston stressed she felt the application was too large in open countryside not adhering to planning policy and proposed to go against officer recommendation for the following reasons. The application went against Planning policy PSE12, developing on land of agricultural Grade 3A, poor access by non-car modes it does not offer good active travel connections and poor highway access. The proposal for refusal was seconded by Councillor Peter Scott.


The Chair reminded members that they were requested to take a vote and resolve on the content of the Council’s Statement of Case as detailed in the report.


Councillor Merfyn Parry asked if there had been any conditions or covenant at the land if the rugby club was not required. Planning officers stated they were not aware of any previous controls at the site. Officers did provide the applicant with pre-application guidance. Officers had to have regard for historic use of the site and the promotion of the applicant for the tourism sector of the authority. 


The relocation of Rhyl Rugby Club to Rhyl was a separate issue and application to this application.  Planning officers stressed the importance to disregard the connection with the new Rhyl Rugby Club and to assess the application on the former Rhyl Rugby Club.


The Chair thanked members and officers for the discussion and confirmed the proposal by Councillor Christine Marston, seconded by Councillor Peter Scott was to take option B – ‘Resolve to support the Refusal of planning permission’ for the reasons outlined by Councillor Marston.







RESOLVED to support REFUSAL of planning permission for the reasons as detailed in the refusal proposal by virtue of 3.1 (B) of the officer’s report and that the council’s Statement of Case will reflect the decision on refusal to assist Welsh Government.





Supporting documents: