RESIDENTS and business owners have vowed to continue the fight against the development of a controversial retail site after an appeal date was set.
Wrexham Council planners threw out an application for the development of a 4,000 square ft convenience store on part of the car park at the Red Lion pub in Marford.
The bid was made by pub chain Marston’s, which runs the Red Lion.
An appeal into the decision was submitted just before the December 5 deadline and now a date has been set for the hearing, to be conducted by an officer from the Planning Inspectorate.
The public hearing, which is expected to run for three days, will begin at 10am on May 28 at Wrexham Guildhall.
When the original planning application was considered, fears for children’s safety were raised as the land is close to the junction of Woodlands Road and the main B5445.
Two bus stops regularly used by students at Darland High School at Rossett and Ellesmere College are near the junction.
And the hearing date has been set for the school holidays, meaning traffic on the road will be lighter than usual at peak times.
Peter Minshull, who owns Clear Black Wine in Gresford, is concerned the timing of the hearing means the inspector will not see the full extent of the problem additional traffic could cause.
But he said even if the inspector upholds the council planning committee’s refusal, it could still not be the end of the issue.
He added: “I think they must have identified that there is some opportunity in this area and, once they do that, they keep trying. This is how they work.
“They have all sorts of ways of working out how to make money. If they think it is there, they keep trying.
“I still find it baffling why we need a big shop there when we have got so many choices here already. We have been through it all before. We have got everything people could possibly want in both villages.”
Campaigners from Marford, Rossett and Gresford submitted 600 objection letters and a 142-signature petition.
At the time of initial rejection, they described the outcome as “a victory for common sense”.
Cllr for Marford and Hoseley, Mike Edwards, who sits as vice-chair on the planning committee at Wrexham Council, said the appeal hearing will only take into account the reasons given for the original decision to refuse planning permission.
Cllr Edwards added: “It’s up to the council to show why they turned the plan down and up to the appellant to try and knock down those reasons.”