Posted: Wed 7th Oct 2020

Planning process defended as mega greenhouse proposals treated the same as “Mrs Jones who wants to build an extension” for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

The leader of Wrexham Council has defended the recent refusal for a large greenhouse development, stating it was treated in the same way as any other planning application.

The rejection of the plans for a pair of 7.6 hectare greenhouses located directly between Dwr Cymru’s Five Fords Waste-Water Treatment Works and SecAnim Abattoir, which appears to mean the project is all but dead.

The developers claimed Wrexham would benefit from 150 new, long-term, green jobs by hosting the £50-£60 million pound “cutting-edge, low carbon agriculture project”, however had stressed the window for progress was restricted – and that deadline has passed.

The development had triggered a row between developers and Wrexham Council over the timescales of the application, with claims of an ‘unprecedented absence of communication’ from Wrexham Council’s Planning Department, and a request for a special meeting to hear the matter – a claim that was strongly rejected by Wrexham Council Officers.

Yesterday asked councillor Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council if such a project appearing to get the cold shoulder locally sends an impression that Wrexham isn’t open to such forward thinking projects.

Cllr Pritchard was cautious with his comments, referring to “controversial discussions” between the applicants and the Planning Department that we have documented part of.

Cllr Pritchard said” “Myself as the leader, and I know officers, and all elected members always support investment. They always support anything which brings jobs into the local economy. That is a given, we always do that.”

“Fortunately in Wrexham we have a planning process and we have to adhere to it. We have to go through those steps no different from anywhere else if this planning application was in Wrexham, on the other side of the border in England or in Scotland, or anywhere else in Wales, they would have to go through exactly the same processes.”

“What I would say is with this one, it is no different from any other application. Whether it’s Mrs. Jones down the road who wants to build an extension, or a business that wants to build in a factory or anything, we have to go through the planning processes.”

“I know it’s been difficult and there’s been lots of debate on it but we should never ever go away from the planning process. The planning process is there for a reason.”

“That’s the way we do business in Wrexham, we follow the procedures, we follow the processes and we shouldn’t do anything less.”

“Yes we we celebrate any announcement of jobs, or employment and investment coming to Wrexham but we do have a planning process, and we have to adhere to it. I’m sure everybody in Wrexham across the country understands that, for obvious reasons.”

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