Public consultation closes on University plans with over 200 comments ahead of planning application
A public consultation on multi-million pound plans for Wrexham Glyndŵr University has now closed – with new proposals to ‘gift to the community’ of some land mooted for housing.
In June Wrexham.com reported that the University had announced plans for a £60 million investment into its Wrexham campuses.
Branded ‘Campus 2025’ the plans aim to ‘future proof’ the University’s campuses and ‘enhances the student experience by providing an infrastructure that supports learning, with stimulating state-of-the-art facilities and the latest in building designs and technology’.
Over the past 28 days a public consultation on the plans and potential funding streams has taken place – with the process closing yesterday.
More than 200 comments were received from members of the public during the consultation process, with the results described as being “broadly” welcoming to the university’s proposals.
The extensive plans include a new engineering building, extension to the sports hall and high quality student accommodation to attract a greater number of students to live and study in Wrexham.
The most striking public change will be the creation of a new ‘Learning Gateway Building’ on the Mold Road entrance, along with new ‘inner gateway’ entrance.
Just down the road at the Regent Street Art College it is proposed that the ‘redundant outbuildings’ at the rear of the site are demolished and not listed, to make way for a 107 bed student accommodation facility.
Speaking yesterday, Wrexham Glyndwr University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Maria Hinfelaar said: “Our public consultation on our proposed planning applications to support the Campus 2025 capital development programme has now closed.
“Our thanks to everyone who has engaged with this process – we received more than 200 comments from members of the public which will now be reviewed prior to submitting the finalised planning applications to Wrexham Council.
“Our plans have been broadly welcomed, because of the significant investment in university facilities which will clearly benefit our students, many of whom are local, and also raise the profile of Wrexham.
“The main campus at Plas Coch is on a gateway into the town, and our Regent Street campus is a heritage building which is home to our School of Creative Arts.
“Both locations need substantial upgrades so that we will have a fit for purpose and attractive learning environment for our students.
“It is very exciting that all this will be happening in tandem with other investment and infrastructure improvements in Wrexham, such as the new transport hub at Wrexham General Station.”
One of the more controversial elements of the university’s plans is the selling off of land for housing developments, which would be used to help fund the campus upgrades.
Three sites for disposal include the north end of the campus itself, a playing field on Holt Road and field on Gatewen Road. The University is placing the planning applications for each of these sites in at the same time as the campus developments, referring to them ‘enabling’ developments. Land with outline planning approval for housing is worth considerably more than land without.
This has been met with opposition by residents in the Rhosnesni area after it was revealed that playing fields would be sold off to make way for housing.
However yesterday Prof Hinfelaar said that plans had been put forward to ‘gift’ a section of the playing field to the community for use as public open space.
Prof Hinfelaar continued: “An essential enabler for our ambitious Campus 2025 strategy is the disposal of some plots of land owned by the university but which are not required for educational purposes, and release them for housing development in response to shortages in the area.
“We have received some comments about one of these plots, namely the land off Holt/Dean Road. We have proposed gifting a section of this land to the community so that public open space and a playing pitch can be retained.
“The sale of the remainder of Holt/Dean Road is integral to our Campus 2025 strategy, which will benefit the future generation of learners in Wrexham.”
The land gift has not yet been formalised, however campaigners have said the University’s claim that there was “only one poorly marked pitch” on Dean Road Field is a “a very disingenuous statement”. The below historic satellite image of the field does show multiple pitches, with the markings visible from space.
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