COMMUNITY leaders have joined residents in protesting about the placement of children with behavioural problems in the middle of a residential area.
Wrexham Council says moving the centre from the former Grove Park High School to the former Wrens Nest residential home for the elderly in Rhosddu, Wrexham, is temporary, but Rhosddu Community Council say temporary usually means permanent.
As revealed in the Leader, residents are concerned about the centre moving into the area.
County councillor Steve Wilson, who represents the area on Wrexham Council, said by the time he was informed the change was a done deal.
Cllr Wilson told Rhosddu Community Council he was called to a meeting at the Guildhall and four officials at the meeting never mentioned what was going on.
“It was John Davies, the council’s head of lifelong learning, who later told me what was happening. It was a done deal.
“I was asked what I thought should happen to the site in Rhosddu and I said it should be used for affordable houses.”
Cllr Brenda Roberts said: “I think the officers involved have acted discourteously. The officers are servants to the councillors. In this issue consultations should have taken place and they did not.”
County councillor David Bithell said he was appalled by the way the situation had been handled.
The community council and local residents should have been fully consulted, he said, yet no one knew what was happening.
Chairman Madge Lynch said that when the authority said something was temporary it usually meant permanent.
The community council unanimously decided to protest to Wrexham Council.
The Leader has already reported that residents in Rhosddu were worried about the plan.
In response John Davies, head of lifelong learning at Wrexham Council, said: “The council’s Project XI unit is in the process of being temporarily relocated after the decision to proceed with the demolition of the former Groves High School building, where it was previously based.
“Project XI is a referral unit that offers short-term alternative education for children who are excluded from school, not attending school for other reasons or who are not gaining qualifications at school. It is not a residential facility.
“There are currently three PRUs in Wrexham, located on four different sites. There have been no complaints made to the council about the behaviour of any of the young people who attend those facilities.”
A further statement from Wrexham Council said: “This is a temporary arrangement in the first instance. The cost of this temporary arrangement is minimal and is much lower than the cost of improving the facilities at The Groves would have been.
“We are currently finalising a business case – to be consulted upon with groups including union reps, staff, and elected members – which will help us determine what the permanent arrangements should be and where the PRUs should be located.
“The building in Rhosddu is council-owned and so we do not need planning permission to use it as a temporary location for delivering council services.”