Proposals for 600 house development off Holt Road refused by Planning Committee
Plans to build extra 600 homes in Wrexham were rejected last night amid strong concerns over the impact of the development.
The proposals to for land off Holt Road, which had been submitted by Barratt Homes and Bloor Homes, had been recommended for approval by Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer
The site between Wrexham Rugby Club and the roundabout by Wrexham Golf Club forms part of a wider area, which has been identified by Wrexham Council as suitable for up to 1,680 new houses in its Local Development Plan (LDP).
Vincent Ryan, a representative of the applicants, said the success of this planning application is “fundamental to the delivery and success” of the Wrexham Council’s development plan.
Mr Ryan added: “The LDP relies on the site delivering 600 buildings within the plan period.
“The site is also essential for unlocking the remaining 1000 dwellings on the wider key strategic site and delivering early highway infrastructure to support the expansion of the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
“It is therefore important that development is allowed to progress as quickly as possible.”
However a series of concerns were raised by many councillors and a representative of local residents, who questioned if the application was pre-empting the LDP decision, the pressure on the local health care service, issues with highways and a loss of agricultural land.
Grosvenor councillor Marc Jones, said approving the plans would effectively signal that the “LDP is good to go”.
He said: “The fact is – the LDP is still not passed and the Inspectors are still considering it. Even if all those objections could be answered, it is therefore premature to consider this site – which is termed a Key Strategic Site within that emerging LDP.
“Yet the LDP is built on a presumption that 7,700 new homes are needed in Wrexham borough by 2028. This is because, according to flawed projections forced on this council by Welsh Government, we will have 17,000 more people living here by then. The reality is very different – in the last 7 years when this population boom was meant to be happening the population has actually risen by just 156 people.
“This emerging LDP is built on sand. It has no foundation and it will fail because it is not adapting to the new realities we face as a borough.
“The health board is too polite in its submission. These 600 new homes will place an intolerable pressure on our local health services with no contribution coming from the developer. That has weight in any decision you make.
“Given the range of objections, I doubt this application would ever have gone forward if it wasn’t for the draft LDP. You, in making your decision tonight, should not be bound by a plan that has yet to be approved and that is, in my opinion, fatally flawed before it’s even passed.”
Ruabon councillor Dana Davies also challenged the “blatant disregard” for the lack of affordable housing being included in applications submitted to the council.
Calling for the application to refused, Cllr Davies said: “We’re asked to look at guidance and technical advice notes in making the informed decision, but we completely miss the policy on affordable homes.
“Post COVID we already know we’re going to have pressures on unemployment, and on the economy where affordable housing is going to be more needed in this county and we keep just blatantly ignoring this fact.”
Commenting on pre-empting the LDP planning officer David Williams said there hasn’t been any “feedback from the inspectors in relation to the the housing allocations” that have been proposed.
Mr Williams said: What you need to consider as a planning committee is the weight that you attach to the need to provide more housing and more housing in the correct location.
“As we can see, this is this allocation has been made in accordance with the spatial strategy. It follows all the principles of sustainable developments.
“It is well connected in terms of its expansion direction, it’s probably expanding Wrexham on the right side because of its relationship with the industrial estates without necessarily creating too much of an incursion into the green barrier.
He added: “We cannot ignore the fact that the LDP is in at an advanced stage. It won’t be adopted until the inspectors report becomes legally binding, but nevertheless, we’ve had the majority of the examination in public.
“The feedback we’ve received from inspectors has been primarily in relation to the selection process concerned with the gypsy and traveller sites. We haven’t had any feedback from the inspectors in relation to the the housing allocations.”
However Holt councillor and committee chairman Mike Morris, said it at this moment in time it was “difficult to overcome some of the objections” put forward about the development.
17 councillors voted in favour of refusing the application with one councillor abstaining from the vote.
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