Posted: Mon 15th Apr 2024

Calls for city centre developers to contribute to new green spaces and better transport for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Developers creating new flats in Wrexham town centre should be contributing towards new green spaces, better public transport and safe car parking.

That’s the view of Plaid Cymru councillors, who are arguing for contributions from developers to fund new public open spaces and car parking for those with cars.

The comments come after several planning applications to convert the floors above vacant and in-use retail space into either studio apartments or one-bedroom flats.

On Monday 8 April members of Wrexham Council’s planning committee backed the proposals for the floors above the former Select fashion.

Despite concerns being raised about a lack of parking for future residents, the meeting was told that the location is “an area where broadly speaking it’s accepted, or encouraged that people would not need to be reliant on private car.”

Plaid Cymru councillors are now calling on developers to contribute to safe car parking and the creation of new green spaces.

One suggestion put forward is a plot of derelict land on Penybryn, on Brook Street, which Cllr Marc Jones has argued could be used as a new park.

Councillor Marc Jones, who represents part of Wrexham town centre in his Grosvenor ward, said: “Over the past five years, there have been planning applications for hundreds of new flats and apartments in the town centre.

“This is a positive step because there is a need for this kind of housing, it helps revitalise the town and boosts local businesses.

“It’s important that they’re of a good quality but I think we also need to be considering two elements that are currently not being addressed.

“One is making sure there’s open spaces for town-centre residents to use for relaxation and leisure.

“At present we’re being asked to accept that people living in town can use Llwyn Isaf or Bellevue Park.

“I think that we need a more strategic approach that builds up a pot of money from developments to pay to create a new park or green space on the derelict land at the bottom of Penybryn.

“This is land that can’t be developed for housing or other building use because of flood concerns but could be used as a green space or playing facilities as part of Wrexham’s revitalisation.

“Secondly is car parking. In an ideal world, Wrexham would have fantastic public transport that enabled people to get around the area without the need for cars.

“But we haven’t so it’s inevitable that a percentage of people living in town will have cars and vans to get to work and visit friends and family. So while the ideal of saying any new housing development in the town centre is a sustainable location and there’s no need for any car parking on site is fine, it doesn’t reflect reality.

“My concern – and I know it’s shared by other councillors who represent residential areas surrounding the centre of Wrexham – is that those cars will end up being parked on residential streets that are already under pressure.

“To address that, Plaid Cymru councillors are proposing that the council develops a policy that aims to do two things – create a pot of funding that would help improve public transport but also ensure safe, long-term car parking for town-centre residents who need a vehicle (because of disability or work for example).

“We currently have a derelict multi-storey car park in the centre of Wrexham that could be used to better effect if there was a clear understanding of how it would improve life for residents and reduce pressure on residential streets in areas such as Rhosddu, Offa and Hightown.

“Funding for that would come from housing developers who currently avoid any commitment because the council doesn’t have a policy in place to deal with the issue.”

Cllr Jones added that had initiated discussions with the planning department on both matters and the feeling was that more strategic thinking was needed from the council on how to progress with supplementary planning guidance.

He added Plaid councillors, especially those representing areas in and around the town centre, would welcome further opportunities to develop these ideas.

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