PLANS for a large-scale development have been met with major concerns from local residents and teachers who have asked: “Can our schools cope?”
The ambitious proposals for thRuabon villagers' concerns over large new developmente Ruabon Park site, near Wrexham, were put on public display for the first time over the weekend and residents were very concerned that Ruabon village amenities such as schools and the doctors’ surgery would not be able to cope.
The plans include a supermarket, 300 new homes as well as a business park and employment space which could create more than 1,500 jobs.
However, on Friday Ruabon residents and members of staff from local schools Maes y Llan and St Mary’s Primary School expressed their concerns about how an influx of people in the area would put public services under pressure.
Members of the public were encouraged to speak with the development team at the Wynnstay Arms in Ruabon on Friday. The plans were also displayed on Saturday at Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
Site owners Wynnstay Farming already have planning permission for a business park on the site which is on land south of Ruabon near the A483 and these fresh plans are an update on original proposals.
Kingsley Evans, of Albert Grove, Ruabon, said: “Our main concern is how the development is going to affect local services. We’ve been to the doctors surgery in Ruabon this morning for an appointment and it was absolutely heaving in there.
“Can our schools cope with another 300 homes?”
Mr Evans’ wife, Kerri, said: “We’re not opposed to the development itself, as it looks like a good thing for the area, but we need assurances that our services like schools and surgeries will be increased in size as a result. Our schools are full to capacity so what is the result going to be?”
Richard Brown, head of community relations on the development team, said: “Generally we’ve had very positive feedback from the public to our plans.
“However, the educational impact issue is clearly one that needs to be addressed and we are working closely with Wrexham Council to try and come to a compromise due to the fact that schools in the area are near capacity. We’ve had members of staff from Ruabon’s schools here today and they have expressed their views on the increase in potential pupils that the housing development would bring. But that is why we have these public consultations, to try and iron out the problems.”
Mr Brown confirmed that no supermarket had been chosen for the site.
The plans also incorporate a pond that already exists on the site which developers are hoping will form the centre of a wildlife area which would include a cycle path and public walkway.
Tim Waters, planning consultant, said: “We’ve spoken to people regarding all issues and people seem positive about the development.”
Rowland Fenner, 80, a Ruabon resident for the past 50 years, said: “I’m all in favour of the plans as it will be good for the area to have more business and a supermarket, but I do have concerns about the strain it will put on schools and medical facilities. Although we have two primary schools in the area they have said they are already working at full capacity.”
Ben and Pat Kearsley, Ruabon residents of 42 years, said they would welcome the development.
Mrs Kearsley said: “We live close to where the development is due to take place and we’d welcome a supermarket and the community that is likely to come with 300 homes.”
Mr Kearsley said: “It is positive if it helps our businesses in Ruabon, but will these families in the new homes have a disposable income and, if they do, will they choose to spend it in the village?”
A Wrexham Council spokesman said: “We are currently awaiting for a planning application to be submitted so that we can accurately calculate how many schools places would be needed.”