Rejection of plans to extend Wrexham car showroom car park could lead to 30 job losses, warns owner
The rejection of plans to extend the car park of a Wrexham car showroom could result in 30 job losses, a business owner has warned.
It follows a decision over proposals to extend the car park at the Lindop Toyota dealership in Bradley being placed on hold by members of Wrexham Council’s planning committee.
The scheme was recommended for refusal by the local authority’s chief planning officer, who said it would harm an area of green barrier land.
However, owner Steve Hopewell told councillors yesterday (Monday, March 1) that the extra space was needed to cater for an increase in electric car sales.
He said it would also allow for the installation of electric charging points and the creation of five new jobs.
Without their approval, he said it was likely to result in the firm losing its franchise and closing due to being unable to meet Toyota’s capacity standards.
Speaking at a virtual meeting, he said staff would also lose their jobs.
He said: “I can actually say with unfortunate certainty that if our planning application is rejected then Lindop Wrexham won’t meet future requirements.
“That will trigger a sequence of events which basically will see us being swallowed.
“We will have the chance to revise our plan in early 2022, however, based on current circumstances, we really can’t see what we could do as an alternative.
“We have conducted an exhaustive search for alternative sites in the Wrexham area and there aren’t any.
“Therefore, by mid-2022 at the latest we will receive 24 months’ notice of termination, and that would mean the business would actually close by the summer of 2024 at the latest.”
In a report to the committee, chief planning officer Lawrence Isted said exceptional circumstances would need to be demonstrated to justify an extension onto green barrier land.
Mr Isted said he did not believe a strong enough case had been put forward by the company.
But several politicians expressed concerns over the potential loss of jobs.
Local councillor Tina Mannering said she was supportive of the proposals, despite normally opposing the development of green spaces.
She said: “The future of the Bradley site in Wrexham is dependent on permission being granted.
“Without the acceptance, Toyota will be forced to relocate the business outside of the Wrexham administrative boundary.
“This would have a devastating impact on local employment and would result in a significant loss of jobs.
“In these unprecedented Covid times, it is essential to protect and existing jobs and allow successful companies to continue to grow and flourish.”
However, fellow ward councillor David Griffiths said he was opposed to the plans because of the impact it would have on neighbours.
He claimed the business had regularly caused disruption to the lives of people living nearby.
He said: “The business is a very successful one and it’s just outgrown its present site.
“That success has not been without large and continual disruption to neighbouring properties, who have for many years suffered from staff parking their cars outside of their homes.
“Even though it was conditioned on the February 7th 2011, nothing has changed.
“The part of receiving overwhelming support is not recognised and we don’t know who has given this overwhelming support because the neighbouring properties are not for this.”
Cllr Dana Davies said she supported the economic benefits the development would bring.
The Labour group leader suggested a decision on the plans should be put on hold to allow the company to provide further evidence to show it had considered alternative sites.
Her recommendation was unanimously supported by committee members.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
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