Plans to demolish former toilet block to make way for “much needed” community hub set for refusual
Plans to transform the site of a disused toilet block into a “much needed” community hub look set to be rejected.
The application by Rossett Community Council, which was submitted earlier this year, proposes that the toilet facilities at Rossett Park are demolished to make way for the state-of-the-art building for the local community.
‘Hwb Yr Orsedd’, a is described as a facility “at the heart of the village of Rossett intended to serve the local community in a variety of needs.”
The existing toilet block is described as being more than 50 years old, but has been closed for the last five due to vandalism and unacceptable behaviour.
Although conservation area consent to demolish the building has been recommended for approval by the council’s interim head of planning , a separate application to redevelop the site for a community hub could be refused.
It comes amid concerns that a lack of parking on the proposed site could “give rise to parking problems in the locality.”
A report due before planning committee members later today recommends that the application is rejected following comments from the council’s highways department.
The report states that “the lack of off street parking provision for the proposed development which is considered unacceptable.”
It continues onto say: “The applicant suggests in the Design & Access Statement that the majority of visitors to the site will arrive mainly on foot and anybody arriving by car can park on the adjoining highway.
“Given the existing parking issues in this area and the potential for visitors to the site to arrive by car, it would be difficult to support such a proposal without the benefit of adequate off-street parking provision.
“The proposed development appears to be a mixture of Class D2 / A3 use. The applicant appears to have based the parking requirement assessment on an overall Class D2 Use with the café / service counter area being treated as ancillary to this use.
“If the application is to be supported, then I would recommend that a suitable condition is included which prevents food and drink being consumed off the premises.
“This would in theory limit any likelihood of any indiscriminate parking along this section of road.”
A number of concerns were also raised by neighbours, who argued that demolishing the existing toilet block is “unnecessary” and that more should be done to retain it.
Objections were also raised due to increase in parking issues, the loss of the toilet facilities, the size of the proposed building, the loss of open and space and that the “proposed community hub would harm the quiet enjoyment of this area of the park for existing users.”
However support was given to the application, including from Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton, who said that the community hub would complement the “beautifully maintained green space.”
Other notices of support argued that the “exciting development” would benefit many people within the community and encourage other businesses to the area and that it is a “great opportunity to develop an unused and deteriorating community asset.”
The plans were also praised for the “huge benefits to the community, older residents and create an inclusive place for all sections and ages of the village, strengthening intergenerational ties and reducing social isolation.”
Within the report the interim planning officer notes that “although on a larger overall footprint, the proposed design does not appear to have any more of an impact than the existing building.”
The interim officer continues onto say: “The building will not be adjacent to or fronting residential development, and so there will be no issues in relation to loss of light or privacy.
“Subject to restrictions on the hours of use of the building, there are no concerns that the proposed Hub would have a detrimental impact upon local residential amenity.”
Despite this the plans have been recommended for refusal due to the lack of off-street parking provision.
The interim officer continues onto state: “The proposed demolition of the toilet block and replacement building is seen as an enhancement not only to the appearance of the conservation area, but to the character and appearance of the park and general locality.
“The building has been carefully designed to respect the Park and street scene in both its scale and materials of construction and would, in this regard, be a welcome addition to the Park by enhancing the current facilities for all users.
“Ecological and biodiversity benefits will be brought about by the redevelopment of this part of the site, and those trees which cannot be protected will compensated for.
“Despite the above, the lack of designated parking provision is of concern to the Highway Authority. Given that the parking spaces around the Park are already well used, this would likely lead to indiscriminate parking in the nearby residential streets, impacting upon the amenities of those residents and interfering with the free flow of traffic, to the detriment of highway safety for all users, including pedestrians.
“The benefits of the proposed development are acknowledged however on balance, these are outweighed by the highway safety concerns.
“Whilst it is accepted that there should be less reliance on the motor car in this case, no dedicated parking provision at all to access / service the building is likely to give rise to parking problems in the locality.”
The application will be considered by planning committee members at 4pm today. The meeting will also be webcast on the Wrexham Council website
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