Plans Approved for New Care Facility in Buckley Despite Concerns Over Impact on Historic Music Venue
PLANS to create a new care facility in Buckley have been approved despite concerns over how it will impact a historic music venue.
An outline planning application by Haigh Developments Ltd to build an extra care scheme with up to 90 beds for elderly people on Precinct Way was discussed by councillors yesterday (Wednesday, February 7).
A local resident spoke out against the development at a meeting of Flintshire Council’s planning committee held at County Hall in Mold.
Ryan Hopwood, who was speaking on behalf of a group of 79 residents, said the proposals had “many flaws”, including the potential impact on the neighbouring Tivoli venue.
He said there were fears within the community that it could lead to the Grade II-listed former cinema having to reduce its opening hours or even close completely due to noise complaints from residents of the new scheme.
Mr Hopwood said: “Last week was the 11th anniversary of Independent Venue Week, a nationwide celebration of local live music.
“The Tivoli is one of the stand-out venues in north east Wales and according to the Music Venues Trust, 2023 was the worst year for the closure of UK venues with 125 venues closed and 4,000 jobs lost.
“Noise complaints from residents of this facility would inevitably lead to calls for the Tivoli to close early and reduce noise, threatening its existence.”
The proposals, which also include plans for 12 bungalows, were recommended to go ahead by Flintshire’s chief planning officer ahead of the meeting.
Andrew Farrow said it would help to address a demand for accommodation for elderly people in the town, with noise mitigation measures required before the development can begin.
It comes as Buckley is currently the only major town in Flintshire without an extra care facility.
However, objectors have stressed the cultural importance of the Tivoli, which dates back to the 1920s and has hosted gigs by bands such as Oasis, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.
Buckley Pentrobin councillor Mike Peers said he agreed with concerns about the site’s proximity to the Tivoli but believed they could be addressed.
He said: “There is a concern that the noise from the Tivoli affecting this could close it down.
“But I think the reassurance we have is in the report, in particular from Planning Policy Wales which says that potential impacts from noise pollution arising from existing developments such as music venues must be fully considered.
“The onus is not on the Tivoli; it is on the developer, and I would hope the comments that have been made will be fed back. We must preserve and keep the Tivoli.”
Buckley Bistre East ward councillor Richard Jones also voiced reservations about the number of beds being proposed.
He said: “This type of facility is important, especially in a town the size of Buckley.
“There is a caveat in that what is developed must be in the right place and of the right size.
“Flinshire’s housing strategy team and social services have identified that 60-65 beds would be the optimum size, where as the developer appears to have identified 75-90. That’s a significant difference.”
He added: “The Tivoli is a historic venue which is nearly 100 years old.
“It’s an old development in Buckley and many people will have met their partners there. It will cause an issue for the development.”
Planning officials said the proposals were only part of an outline application, meaning issues relating to the size and scale could be dealt with at a later stage.
They said venues such as the Tivoli were already subject to noise legislation and expressed confidence that Clwyd Alyn Housing, which is expected to run the facility, would find a solution to mitigate the impact.
But Cllr Helen Brown said it would be “naive” to think there wouldn’t be noise complaints from residents once the facility is up and running.
At one stage Cllr Jones suggested the plans should be deferred for further discussions to be held with the developer.
However, Cllr Bernie Attridge said he was satisfied with the assurances provided by officers.
He said: “All I’m doing here today is backing the principle of the development on the site, with all reserved matters coming back to us for consideration.
“I’ve heard quite clearly from the resident, local members and also officers saying if that’s not acceptable, our professional officers won’t be recommending it for approval.
“I don’t think personally that a deferral is going to help.”
The application was approved with 13 votes in favour and three abstentions.
Councillors were told a condition would be attached requiring a full noise impact assessment to be conducted once detailed plans are submitted.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter
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