Appeal success for plans to extend Elms centre in Wrexham

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

Controversial plans to extend a drug and alcohol treatment centre have been allowed on appeal.

In May, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board submitted an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate after an application for an extension on the ground floor of the Elms in Rhosddu Road was refused by Wrexham Council.

The application form stated the reason for the extension is to accommodate the existing staff and service user numbers that currently occupy/use the Elms and Hafod buildings.

Now Planning Inspectorate officers have overturned the planning committee’s decision, so the extension can go ahead.

Reporting inspector Declan Beggan said: “The proposed extension, or any of the other proposed external works to The Elms would not be harmful to the character and appearance of the host building or the historic character of the area.

“Taking all these matters into account, I conclude that the proposed development would not be detrimental to the character and appearance of the host building, or the conservation area, which would be preserved.

“Consequently the proposed development would not be in conflict with the relevant policy of the unitary development plan. I conclude that the appeal should be allowed.”

Figures included in the application indicated there are between 500 to 600 service users, all of whom are Wrexham residents.

In July the Leader reported how Grosvenor councillor Marc Jones spoke of his concern concentrating so many services in a small residential area is having “a huge impact on the wellbeing of the wider population, but also on jobs and small businesses in the immediate area”.

Health board bosses say the plans would allow closer collaborative working between the two services and reduce the number of visits required as appointments would be synchronised or combined.

Alternative locations, including a business park on the outskirts of Wrexham town centre and a site near Wrexham Maelor Hospital, were also considered but rejected in favour of The Elms.

It was thought moving services away from the town centre would pose a barrier to access, especially for people less motivated to attend appointments.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Leader

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