CONTROVERSIAL plans for large warehouse on Wrexham Industrial Estate have been given the go-ahead because it could create up to 100 jobs.
The pull for jobs in the area was prioritised over environmental aspects which includes the loss of a pond where the protected Great Crested Newt currently breed.
The proposal was originally rejected by Wrexham Council’s planning committee in June 2012, who argued the site had always been seen as open countryside and shouold not be developed on.
But an appeal for planning approval by Kingsmoor Park Properties Ltd for the 400,000 sq ft warehouse on greenfield land off Bryn Lane was upheld by the the Planning Inspectorate for Wales.
The inspector, Kay Sheffield, found the scheme would cause “significant harm” to the local landscape, and would be “dominant” in its setting, but she said these factors could be mitigated.
She also concluded that the build would conflict with the approved unitary development plan land management blueprint for Wrexham on a number of counts.
But she said the potential job creation, the new investment, economic growth and lack of other suitable sites were all regarded as of overriding importance.
The warehouse would be part of an extension to a nearby site owned by haulage company Norbert Dentressangle Logistics Ltd (NDL), who already employ 190 workers.
After landing a new long term contract NDL requires up to 100 more staff and an increased warehouse space.
In Wrexham Council’s local development plan it was proposed the site should not be allocated for any form of development and be used as open countryside - but the council were forced to withdraw the plan before it could come into effect.
In her report Kay Sheffield said: “It is proposed the development would create between 80 and 100 additional jobs which would be filled from the local area.”
She also said the development is on an industrial estate in a “disadvantaged area” which could help “fight social exclusion”, “improve run-down places” and create job opportunities for people at high risk of unemployment.
In her report she says there are 200 people actively seeking work on Job Seekers Allowance within five kilometers of the site and how 800 jobs have been lost in Wrexham in the last four years.
However, she also had reservations about the development.
She said: “I have concerns the development could cause detriment to the character of the open countryside and the quality of the natural environment.”
She also confirmed the Great Crested Newt, which is protected under the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations, would lose a breeding pond on the site.
However Natural Resource Wales has stated there would be no significant adverse impacts on the species and that conditions to safeguard the long term protetion of the newts are in place.
HOW Planning acted on behalf of Kingmoor Park Properties in the case.
Gary Halman, partner at HOW, said: “This is a really important decision. It is one of the first appeals for major economic development in Wales since the Welsh Government reviewed its planning policy guidance to emphasise the importance of encouraging jobs and economic growth in planning decisions.
“The inspector was persuaded that the weight to be attached to these factors significantly offset the conflict with the UDP and the other harm that she identified, and was happy to grant permission because of the compelling economic benefits of the scheme.”
The proposal was originally rejected by Wrexham Council’s planning committee in June 2012.