A CONTROVERSIAL housing development has won the backing of a community council despite a 2,000 strong petition against it.
A majority vote by councillors at a meeting of Llay Community Council saw a plan to build 16 affordable homes on Hayward’s Field win the council’s support.
The plan is now due to be discussed before Wrexham Council’s executive board when it meets in September.
The plans would originally have seen 21 homes built on the land, which residents say is one of the few remaining open green spaces in Llay.
The original proposals were for 21 affordable homes, made up of 12 one-bedroom flats, six two-bedroom homes and three bungalows.
But those plans have been downgraded to just 16 homes, to keep an area free for use as an open space.
Fears were raised that the land – which would be gifted to Wales and West Housing for a nominal fee if the development goes ahead – would end up ruined as an open space for the community.
Mike Jenkins, affordable housing strategy manager for Wrexham Council, moved to allay those concerns, insisting new housing was desperately needed.
He said: “We have got more than 300 people on the waiting list in Llay and we have had no new affordable housing built there since probably the 1970s.
“Fears that there will be another four houses on the land are completely unfounded because Wales and West Housing has absolutely no financial motivation to do that.”
Cllr Malcolm Taylor gave his backing to the development.
He said: “Every effort has been made to look after the interests of people living in the area. All of the bottom half of the field will be left clear for people to play in.
“I have got residents asking when the development is going to be done because they need it.”
But Cllr Terry Bolland said keeping the open space was more important than a “handful” of new homes in the area.
He said: “At the end of the day we are talking about a handful of houses that are not going to solve the problem.
“This is not about affordable housing, this is about a public open space for people in Llay.”
Twin sisters Milly Smith and Gwen Doherty have spearheaded the campaign against the plans.
Mrs Smith previously said: “Our grandchildren play on there, as do my sister’s family. It is a real family affair and the whole village is behind us in stopping this development. Llay has lost a similar green by the Welfare and if this goes too there will be nowhere for children to play.”