Residents fume as Marford mini mart appeal granted

Published date: 03 July 2014 |
Published by: David Humphreys
Read more articles by David Humphreys


RESIDENTS opposed to a plan to build a mini supermarket in their village have lost their fight.

Work can now begin on building of a 4,000 sq ft convenience store on land next to the Red Lion pub in Marford after the Planning Inspectorate gave the plans the go-ahead.

The bid was made by pub chain Marston’s, which runs the Red Lion and after a three day public inquiry held at the Guildhall in Wrexham in May, planning inspector Rebecca Griffiths has granted permission to the pub group.

An original application put to Wrexham Council in December 2012 to construct the store was met with anger by residents who wrote 600 letters of objection.

The application was thrown out by the local authority in June, 2013 with fears surrounding children’s safety being raised as the site is located near a busy junction.

Six months after the decision, Marston’s launched an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate to have the decision overturned.

Marford councillor Mike Edwards has campaigned since the very first application for the site to be rejected for planning permission.

He said he was disappointed by the Planning Inspectorate’s decision.

“The application was made some time ago and the Wrexham Council planning committee had turned it down which meant it went to an appeal.

“It was held in May and there wasn’t much of an outcry as there had been previously.

“It was certainly a feeling of disappointment when the decision was reached. There isn’t adequate space for parking and deliveries to be completed safely.

“This is a dangerous place for people and deliveries to be coming in and out.

“I believe there is the potential for accidents to happen there.”

In her report on the Marford site, planning inspector Ms Griffiths said she had “not found anything of sufficient weight to alter her conclusions” on the main issues of highway safety, effect on character of the surrounding area or the effect upon living conditions of neighbouring residents.

Speaking when the initial proposal was rejected in June last year, Geraint Jones, a Marford resident of more than 25 years, raised fears that road safety issues as a result of the application could lead to someone being killed.

He said: “Marford is a quaint village known for its Gothic revival cottages. The proposed development will tear the heart out of our community, shutting down longstanding shops in Gresford and Rossett.

“There are bus stops either side of Chester Road where pupils are dropped off for a number of schools.”

In February, before the appeal hearing was held, Peter Minshull, who owns Clear Black Wine in Gresford, said: “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.”

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  1. Posted by: Mr.Gobbi at 15:54 on 03 July 2014 Report

    Don't you just love these planning inspectors who come in from outside the area with no local knowledge. So as its now been passed all the local residents need to do is boycott the store when open it would quickly become a costly operation to maintain with few or no shoppers surely.

  2. Posted by: burman500 at 17:58 on 03 July 2014 Report

    As has been said the "inspectorate" do not live in the area so why should they worry. So Ms Griffiths if an accident occurs are you going to take the blame ? I think not - you need to get real about villages like Gresford, Get out of your ivory tower and luxury chair and earn the likely excessive salary you get by seeing the problem on site and by speaking to the people affected.

  3. Posted by: bullshrimp at 20:43 on 03 July 2014 Report

    This application should never have been passed, Wrexham Planning Committee made the right call last year. This application had a number of flaws which simply could not be overcome and the residents spoke in volume to state it was not welcome here. Disappointed but not surprised, suspecting a brown paper envelope job if I'm honest...

  4. Posted by: mypoint at 15:04 on 04 July 2014 Report

    So, the very strong views of both local residents and council count for nothing but the interests of corporate concerns based elsewhere count for everything. Planning Inspectors are unaccountable to the local community for their decisions. They should begin to have some regard for the views of those affected. Accidents, and the closure of small businesses that are very much part of the local community are inevitable. Shame on you Welsh Government for allowing this to happen.

  5. Posted by: stapler12 at 22:45 on 04 July 2014 Report

    Why should the Planning Inspectorate have to take into the account of the local community if those views are *totally unfounded*? It's called NIMBYism. Look it up. As I recall the old campaign was led by the manager of the local SPAR, ran by AF Blakemore, a massive organisation?!?

  6. Posted by: stapler12 at 22:49 on 04 July 2014 Report

    The original council decision was an obvious ploy for the populist vote. A well motivated protest group can stir the hornets nest. They knew an appeal wouldn't hold out - look at all the other shops in the county next to bus stops, and the lack of incidents at those bus stops.

  7. Posted by: Bullshrimp at 09:04 on 05 July 2014 Report

    @stapler12, yes there are many shops in front of bus stops used by school buses, I wonder how many of those had there on site studies carried out during half term week...? That site had a host of issues (insufficient parking for 2 businesses, a crazy protocol for HGV deliveries, multiple highways issues and it's 2 metres too close to a residential property), WCBC made the right call last year, this decision should never have overruled, but unsurprisingly it was...

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