Decision to refuse plans for 31 new homes in Wrexham upheld on appeal
A decision to refuse plans to build 31 new homes in a village in Wrexham has been upheld on appeal.
Proposals to transform an area of land off Bottom Road in Summerhill were rejected by Wrexham Council in August last year.
The move came as planning officers said it would fall outside the development boundary for the community.
Antoni Jones, who is behind the application, later lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after consultants acting on his behalf accused the local authority of coming to an “unfounded and unreasonable” conclusion.
However, the inspector appointed to oversee the appeal has now upheld the refusal of the scheme.
In his decision notice, Declan Beggan said it would have a negative impact on the rural nature of the area surrounding the site.
He said: “Residential development in Summerhill is well contained to the south of the appeal site, with a relatively firm and consistent line of dwellings that form a noticeable built edge that is in stark contrast with the rural character of the agricultural fields and open countryside that the appeal site forms part of.
“Whilst there are dwellings beyond the settlement boundary to the north of the appeal site these are sporadic in nature and are clearly seen within the context of the surrounding rural landscape.
“Irrespective of any final layout or design, the proposal would result in a significant area of built development that would project and encroach into a landscape whose character is rural in nature and as a result would appear contrary to the existing pattern of development and the character of the area.
“From local vantage points, the proposal would appear as a stark, obvious visual intrusion that would jut into the surrounding countryside and would be seen as an illogical extension to the area, and as a result have a materially detrimental effect on the character and appearance of the area.”
Proposals for around double the amount of houses to be built on the same patch of land and nearby fields were refused in 2016.
That decision was also upheld on appeal by an inspector for similar reasons.
The agents representing Mr Jones claimed the latest plans would deliver social and economic benefits for the area, citing the current lack of an approved Local Development Plan for Wrexham.
But Mr Beggan said the need for more houses would not outweigh the harm caused by the development.
Gwersyllt North councillor Phil Rees, who represents the area the site falls under, welcomed the decision.
He said: “It’s a relatively small but very important piece of land next to Greenacres on Bottom Road, Summerhill, provides a green barrier between Summerhill and the adjacent communities of Windy Hill, Ffos y Go and Cefn y Bedd.
“The land falls outside the natural village boundary, and Wrexham planning committee rightly rejected the planning application.
“The applicant appealed and that’s now been rejected by the inspector, who has rightly described the plan as illogical and a ‘bolt-on development that would be at odds with the prevailing character’.
“During this pandemic, we’ve seen more than ever how valuable these green spaces are to our residents’ physical and mental well-being, and how important it is to keep those barriers and not allow our communities to merge into one large urban sprawl.
“I’m grateful to the many local residents who joined Gwersyllt Community Council, myself and my Plaid Cymru colleague Gwenfair Jones in the adjoining ward, in submitting objections to the appeal, and helping to get the right decision on this occasion.”
Picture: Planning document
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
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