Posted: Mon 23rd Jan 2023

Concerns raised over “lack of plan” for Old Vicarage site for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Fresh concern has been raised by a local councillor over the lack of any definite public plan for the old Vicarage site on Rhosddu Road. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The old Vicarage, which was owned by the council and used by the social services department, was knocked down earlier this month. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As we have previously reported the stated intention by the Council Leader Mark Pritchard was that the wider site would be cleared for social housing, and after a previous row in December Cllr David A Bithell told us, “For clarity we are planning to clear the whole site to build new Council homes which are much needed in Wrexham as the waiting list is over 4,000. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Now local councillor Marc Jones, who wanted the building to be retained and adapted into the new scheme, has expressed concerns that there is “no plan in place” to develop the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “I’ve backed council housing on the overall site because it’s needed for local residents. But the council leadership insisted that the old Vicarage had to be demolished to enable the scheme to go ahead. I’ve questioned this because the building could have been incorporated into any new development and would have retained a feature of the local landscape. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“So I’m very concerned to hear from the chief officer in charge of housing and assets that it’s only now that a ‘master plan specification has been commissioned to go out for tender to look at this site to enable the development of this site, which will look at various options for the site’. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“On top of that, there is no specific funding allocated for developing the site – the same response confirmed that Housing Revenue Account funds are available for new social housing building but there is none allocated as yet for this site.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The delay in commissioning a master plan means the site will lie idle – possibly for years – while the coalition running this council decides what to do with the land. There is nothing to stop it, as things stand, from selling it to the highest bidder. People on the housing waiting list in Rhosddu deserve better than that after all this talk of delivering social housing.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward for Plaid Cymru, added: “The overall site consists of the demolished building, Greenacres and the Cunliffe Centre. While Greenacres is being emptied of council staff, there is also no clarity on the future of the Cunliffe Centre, which provides a valuable service for adults with disabilities. Staff and service users also deserve some clarity and reassurance one way or another after seeing the old Vicarage demolition.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Jones has also released a copy of questions he says were posed to the council’s chief housing officer in November – and answers that were given last week. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

1. Whether the site is included in the HRA’s future work programme for council housing over the next five years?
A master plan specification has been commissioned to go out for tender to look at this site to enable the development of this site ,which will look at various options for the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

2. How much money has been set aside for this project?
There are earmarked funds available for new social house building but this is dependent on other factors for example the resolving of phosphates issues and site availability ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

3. How many units can be placed on the site?
This will be subject to masterplanning the site and planning requirements ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

4. What energy efficiency standard will these new units be expected to meet?
Subject to masterplanning the site the scheme will look to meet maximum energy efficiency standards, where possible. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

5. What type of housing is planned on site – e.g. houses, flats, bungalows, sheltered?
Subject to masterplanning the site and planning requirements, against demand ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

6. What type of tenant is planned on site – single person, disabled, elderly, families, etc?
Subejct to masterplanning the site, planning requirements and demand ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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