Public meeting to be held as footpath battle steps up

Published date: 23 November 2012 |
Published by: Rebecca Cole
Read more articles by Rebecca Cole

One of the protests held at School Road 

CAMPAIGNERS fighting against a school development which they say split the community in two are holding a public meeting today.

The creation of the new Llay Park Community Primary School on School Road has led to a removal of a road linking the nearby centre of the village at Market Square to Llay Health Centre on School Road.

Elderly and disabled villagers used to rely on a footpath running along the front of the school to provide access to the health centre which sits on the other side.

Llay resident Pearl Pugh said: “This fight isn’t going away.

“We feel that the village didn’t know the council’s plans for the schools.

“Apparently the council hired third-party consultants to tell the village yet so many people didn’t know.”

Campaigners, who have now taken part in four public protests against the decision, claim they face a long detour around the school site, which has forced some patients to pay for taxis where previously they could walk or use wheelchairs and mobility scooters.

A proposal to create a new footpath to run around the back of the school at an estimated cost of more than £30,000 has been criticised as unworkable amid fears for the safety for those using it and the need to preserve the habitat of bats found in the area.

The public meeting will be held at Llay Royal British Legion, in Watts Dyke at 4pm where Mrs Pugh hopes to win support for a formal complaints to Wrexham Council and the Ombudsman.

She believes the village was not properly warned or consulted on the council’s plans for the area ahead of work being carried out.

“We have already met with Wrexham Council but we still have questions left unanswered.

“We cannot understand how the council can claim they told us about the plans when we received more than 800 signatures in a week on a petition which said the opposite.”

But Dafydd Ifans, head of education transformation and workforce development, said a full planning consultation took place ahead of the school improvements, including signs in the area and notices in the local press which included changes to the road system.

He said: “We received only one objection to the proposals – from Scottish Power, which was subsequently resolved – and the Welsh Government issued the notification to go ahead.

“Throughout the process we have endeavoured to keep the school, health centre and local community informed of the proposals and in the early stages of the scheme employed a third-party consultant who held workshops at the school with the community and school users.

“All members of the community are equally important to us as an authority, however in undertaking improvements at the primary school, our priority has had to be the safety of the 300 plus children who attend.

“We have also met with the concerned residents and local members to address their issues.”

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