A DECISION on plans to build a children’s play area next to a railway line could be made by planning inspectors despite being turned down by Gwyned Council on Tuesday afternoon.

Members of the authority’s planning committee turned down an application by Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG) to build 24 new homes in Llanwnda due to fears over the location of the planned children’s play area.

But with the developers having already lodged an appeal over a lack of decision thus far, it looks likely that the authority will have to defend its decision to the Planning Inspectorate over the coming months.

According to CCG the development, which includes 12 affordable homes, is much needed in the area with measures including a two metre high “anti-climb” fence also in the pipeline to ensure public safety.

But according to campaigners, who held a protest against the plans last week, the play area’s location next to a railway line and gas substation posed an unacceptable risk and have urged CCG to amend the plans.

Before today’s decision Ffrancon Williams, the chief executive of CCG, said that they had taken into consideration “all measures” to ensure the safety of any youngsters using the open space.

He added that the development was in line with Gwynedd Council’s housing strategy, their own development strategy and the Welsh Government’s aim to build 20,000 new homes by 2021.

Addressing this afternoon’s meeting in Caernarfon, Cllr Aeron Jones said that most locals welcomed the prospect of new homes but wanted CCG to adapt the plans and move the playing fields to a safer area and away from the railway tracks.

“What we have here is a matter of David against Goliath, CCG think they can bully local people and this committee” he said.

“Our only problem is the location of the playing fields but the proposed anti-climb fence will be completely useless.

“CCG are coming up with excuses but the reality is they haven’t made any amendments to the application and I’m concerned how forceful the planning officers are trying to push this through.

“Is building homes more important than children’s safety?”

CCG did not provide a representative to speak on behalf of the application, but not all members were against the development.

Cllr Edgar Owen stated his fear over missing out of a chance for 12 affordable homes and felt that the development would help both local schools and the Welsh language.

Meanwhile, planning officer Gareth Jones reiterated that the plan included 12 affordable homes and that mitigation measures can be put in place to reduce any risks.

He went on to warn councillors that turning down the application would likely lose upon appeal in its current form.

“We wouldn’t be recommending approval for an application that we believed would put children’s safety at risk,” added Mr Jones.

“There’s a real need for housing in the area and we have consulted with health and safety experts who believe the application to be acceptable.”

Opting for a recorded vote, members voted by seven to four to refuse the application, with one abstention.

Its expected that both parties will be asked to submit their findings to Welsh Government-appointed planning inspectors over the coming months.