Posted: Thu 9th May 2024

Backing for major Wrexham Industrial Estate expansion despite road network concerns

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Plans for a major expansion to Wrexham Industrial Estate have been given the go ahead despite concerns about the impact on the area’s road network.

In early 2023, the estate’s largest landowner FI Real Estate Management bought a new plot on Bryn Lane measuring around 25 hectares.

The company later submitted a planning application to Wrexham Council to build up to three warehouse and distribution units at the site, with a collective floorspace of more than a million square feet.

In a planning statement, the firm said the proposals could lead to up to 1,500 jobs being created on the estate over the next four years.

The scheme, which includes more than 650 parking spaces, was backed for approval by a senior officer from Wrexham Council ahead of a planning committee meeting held on Tuesday, 8 May.

Permission was granted for the proposals despite objections being raised by local councillor Mike Morris (Cons) over the impact the development would have on roads in the area.

It came after a previous report presented to members raised issues with the proposed access onto Bryn Lane.

During a meeting at Wrexham’s Guildhall, Cllr Morris, who chairs the planning committee, said: “I do still have highway concerns and about the inconsistency of the report we have today and the one that was presented in December.

“It seems to be now that the site access on Bryn Lane is acceptable, even though it’s providing 654 spaces through one entrance, which is virtually opposite the recycling centre and Kellogg’s.

“The report we had in December said that the existing access off Bryn Lane would need to be improved and there doesn’t seem to be any proposal to do that now.

“I’m just putting on record that the access, and I drive past it daily, does have issues because they pull out of there in front of oncoming vehicles.

“It’s also particularly disappointing that there’s no mention of Ridleywood Road because that is used regularly as a rat run from the Broxton and Chester direction on the A534.”

A total of 26 objections were received against the proposals, with opposition voiced to the loss of trees on the site and land contamination issues.

Approximately three hectares of the site previously formed part of the old Owens Corning fibreglass manufacturing factory, which closed in 2002.

The remainder covers an area of greenfield land located between sports equipment retailer Net World Sports and a distribution centre operated by the Very Group.

Responding to concerns about the impact on roads, an officer said the developer would need to pay money to improve the A483 Gresford roundabout and introduce a reduced 30mph speed limit on the estate.

Other mitigation measures could see the creation of a new bus service and schemes to encourage people to walk and cycle to work.

Cllr Morris said he had reservations after claiming the company had a poor track record of sticking to planning conditions.

However, a highways officer said: “As a package, this should encourage travel to the site more sustainably than from the infrastructure that we’ve got there at the moment.

“But we will have a chance to review the documents in terms of those access arrangements.

“If we feel they are not acceptable, we will not hesitate to push back and negotiate further.”

Cllr Bryan Apsley (Lab) said he was concerned about potential contamination issues at the site due to its former industrial use.

He also highlighted objections made by the council’s arboricultural officer over the loss of trees and hedges.

But Cllr John McCusker (Ind) said members were putting too many barriers in the developer’s way.

He said: “I don’t know on what grounds we can say this is not acceptable.

“I think at times we go back and to with these major developers, who could quite happily go elsewhere. We’ve got to keep growing Wrexham and that’s the way I see it.”

An amendment was put forward to defer the committee’s decision on the plans to await further information regarding the concerns raised.

However, this was defeated and members backed giving the council’s chief planning officer delegated authority to grant permission for the scheme by eight votes to two, with two abstentions.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter



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