Posted: Tue 2nd Jul 2019

Updated: Tue 2nd Jul

Redevelopment of Wrexham Glyndwr University campus and 300+ new student flats approved amid traffic and parking concerns for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2019

Plans for an extensive redevelopment on the Wrexham Glyndwr University campus and the building of more than 300 student flats have been approved.

In one of the longest planning meetings we can remember, over a period of four hours committee members voted to approve a series of applications to develop both the university’s Plas Coch and Regent Street campuses.

A total of nine applications were put before the committee yesterday afternoon / evening, each of which was involved in someway with the Glyndwr ‘Campus 2025’ vision.

The multi-million pound project has been described as a development that will help the university “sustain a viable position within the higher education sector” and attract new students to the area.

Andrew Smith, a planning consultant acting on behalf of the university, said the redevelopment of the Mold Road campus would create a “modern and attractive environment for students”.

In terms of the two new student accomodation builds, Mr Smith noted that “student numbers are not going to increase until facilities are improved” and that the one aspect of each application allows another to happen.

He later added that the future of the university lay in the hands of the planning committee.

The plans included the demolition of the university’s student union along with “other redundant buildings’ to “provide a new learning gateway building” at the main campus.

Other proposals included nearly 200 new student flats on Crispin Lane and 107 on land behind the art college on Regent Street.

However traffic concerns and a lack of parking were the recurring themes during the meeting, with Grosvenor councillor Marc Jones and Offa councillor Alun Jenkins repeatedly calling for highways improvements and adequate parking to meet the scale of the planned developments.

Cllr Jones pointed out that the committee that overall they would be making decision on 974 new dwellings during the meeting and compared it to the 8,500 in the LDP which will be built over 15 years.

He said: “As local member for the area I want to see Glyndwr succeed. It is a huge asset for the town and my area. But I do not want to see it succeed at the expense of my area and this town.

“I am concerned about the lack of concern being shown in these plans for traffic and the parking implications.

“The concern my residents have is that people will inevitably park on surrounding streets. We have to be careful about making the situation worse.

“I did a recent survey in my area and 90 per cent said they needed a car to get to work. I am very wary, shall we say about the idea that we’re going to become a car free society when we don’t have buses and trains to meet the demand.”

Similar concerns were raised by Cllr Jenkins, who said there was a “danger there is too much being suggested for too limited a site.”

But planning officer David Williams stated that issues with parking and traffic generation are “mutually incompatible” and that “you’ll never be in a situation where you can solve both issues”.

He said: “We have to accept that it is an inevitable consequence of growth. If we want the town to prosper there will be times of day when there will be congestion – it is the same in every town and city and Wrexham is no different.

“We should be looking to encourage users to look at other means of travel and not rely on cars.”

Cllr Paul Pemberton noted that there have been a number of planning applications that have been refused by the committee due to restricted parking, only to be approved on appeal due to being in a sustainable location.

He added: “We are where we are. If we don’t approve this then we are sending a distinct message that Wrexham is closed for business.”

The applications for the two new sets of student flats were also met with concern, with Cllr Jenkins stating that the Crispin Lane traffic will get worse and called for the junction to be improved.

He also challenged a comment made by the council’s chief planning officer, Lawrence Isted, who stated in his report that “given that the units are solely for the use of students, I see no reason why any occupier should, or would desire to have a motor vehicle during their occupancy.”

Cllr Jenkins firmly said that he “sees no reason why that should be included” and that students will always have cars and park them in side streets if no parking is made available to them.

However it was noted that the application does include improvements to Crispin Lane and the junction.

Mr Williams said that such a condition had been put in place back in over 10 years ago with the Student Village development, but had not been complied with.

He added that it was “critical that the condition is imposed on the applicants” and that they would be required to carry those out before the operational elements of the work begin.

Cllr Jones said it was “incredibly worrying” that the planning condition had not been met and called on the committee and officers to ensure that these are met going forward – otherwise it would be a “free for all”.

Cllr Paul Roberts asked why 11 years later such a condition hadn’t been met, with chairman of the committee Cllr Mike Morris saying that there there had been a “failing of the department”.

The three applications for approved by councillors. The Crispin Lane plans were voted through unanimously and the Regent Street saw a split in the vote, with a majority voting in favour for both.

You can view the rest of out live tweets from this part of the four hour meeting, below:

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