Protests planned over Wrexham gipsy sites

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

HUGE protests are set to take place today against controversial plans to build gipsy and traveller sites near people’s homes.

At its meeting this afternoon Wrexham Council’s powerful executive board will once again consider three possible locations for the residential site as part of the county’s local development plan (LDP).

These are at Black Park in Chirk, Coed-y-Felin at Brymbo and Ruthin Road, Wrexham, where an extension to the existing traveller site is proposed.

Objectors from Chirk and Brymbo are being allowed to address the Guildhall meeting to spell out their objections.

Ken Monti, who is leading opposition to the Brymbo site, said: “This is something we feel very strongly about.

“Let me make it clear that we are not racists and are objecting to the Coed-y-Felin site as we think it is unfit for habitation by anyone.

“Firstly, we believe the site, as a former sewage treatment works, is still contaminated.

“In fact, we have found signs there warning there is a danger of explosions because of methane gas still in the ground.

“Secondly, we believe access to the site also makes it totally unsuitable for residential use.

“This is because it is approached on hairpin bends, making visibility very poor and therefore dangerous.”

Brymbo councillor Paul Rogers believes the number of representations made by local residents should be taken into consideration by the executive board.

He said: “Within the report to be discussed tomorrow are details of representations made by members of the public, which included only 32 letters from residents objecting to the Chirk site and an overwhelming 223 letters of objection from Brymbo.”

He added that a large number of letters from Brymbo were also hand delivered to the Guildhall and that he has received dozens of emails on the matter himself which would probably take the written representations to more than 300.

Cllr Rogers said: “The site at Brymbo is completely unsuitable for development for a number of environmental and highways concerns.

“There are regularly accidents on this stretch of road, visibility is extremely poor and any development of this site would have a visually intrusive impact on properties which overlook the site.”

Last month, people from Black Park delivered a petition to the council containing nearly 1,200 names objecting against the Chirk site.

Chirk North councillor Ian Roberts said: “The land at Black Park is far too valuable to be used for anything other than tourism, leisure and perhaps light industrial purposes.

“It is the ideal tourism site and would act as a further draw for existing local attractions such as Chirk Castle, the Poncysyllte Aqueduct, Chirk Marina and the Glyn Valley Tramway.

“As a council we have a responsibility to gain the best value for our land.

“Shropshire sees the benefit of the A5 corridor and so should Wrexham.

”Council leader Cllr Aled Roberts, said the executive board would make recommendations on the LDP, which would then be considered by the full council on March 24.

The council would make its own recommendations before the plan went out to public consultation before a final decision is made by a Welsh Government inspector.

See full story in the Leader

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