Councillors approve plans to demolish old police station to make way for new supermarket and drive-thru coffee shop
Wrexham’s former police station is to be demolished to make way for a new supermarket.
Members of Wrexham Council’s unanimously planning committee backed plans yesterday afternoon to use the site on Bodhyfryd to house a new Lidl and a drive thru coffee shop.
Plans for the development of the police station were revealed in 2018 when the discount retailer announced that contracts had been exchanged with North Wales Police to build a supermarket and drive-thru coffee shop on the now vacant site.
The application had been set for debate back in September 2019, but was deferred to allow the council’s highways department to respond to a series of objections submitted prior to the meeting by consultants acting on behalf of the neighbouring Asda.
Speaking today planning officer David Williams explained that Lidl had looked elsewhere – including the QD stores building, Bridge Street and Eagles Meadow – for a supermarket, however the Bodhyfryd site proved to be the most viable.
Mr Williams continued: “Given the previous use as the police headquarters the actual increase in traffic movements is less than five per cent and generally anything less than five per cent is not considered for be significant from a highway authority perspective.
“Do believe the highways concerns have been addressed. There have also been a number of amendments undertaken to improve the circulation within the site, particularly the drive-thru and how the movements are accommodated within the development itself.
“The school have raised concerns about the traffic, but we don’t consider that there should be any impact on the operation of the school. There is provision within the school grounds for parents to pick up and drop off as they do.”
He added: “The applicants have carried out a retail impact assessment, they have identified there is an established need for the retail store.
“They’ve looked at both qualitative and quantitive need and in support of their application they’ve looked at the evidence that the council presented to the LDP (local development plan) hearings, which was unchallenged in terms of our own assessment which identified a need for a further convenience store within the town.
“There’s also significant evidence that existing stores are overtrading, so there is capacity for further retail use within this location.”
Due to the development’s proximity to residential areas conditions will be implemented to control the “operational use” of the supermarket and the drive-thru coffee shop.
As part of the development a financial contribution will be made to improve the underpass at Powell Road.
Maesydre councillor Paul Jones questioned if the new development would have an increase in pollution and an impact on pupils at the nearby Alexandra primary school.
He added: “Most of the concerns raised by me have already been dealt with. I would like some feedback on the concern that there is a saturation of supermarkets within the town, several people have asked me about that.
“I’d like to see a condition to stop people getting onto the site at night when it’s closed. We don’t want people racing around at night.”
Mr Williams said: “I don’t think we’re in a position to justify refusal on retail policy grounds because the evidence we have demonstrates there is a need for additional store which could be accommodated within the town itself.
“I don’t think we can justify refusal on the grounds of a potential increase in pollution and I don’t think it will be that significant. Quite often it will be a customer of the store who might decide to stop for a coffee on the way out. I don’t think it will have any adverse impact.”
In terms of a barrier it was agreed that a request would be submitted to the applicants for consideration.
Councillors approved the development, however the exact date that the skyline of Wrexham will change forever is as yet unknown.
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