War of words over green belt plan bids in Wrexham

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A ROW has broken out between Wrexham Council and the town’s MP over how planning applications for green belt land are handled.

MP Ian Lucas says he has been contacted by residents with concerns about developments on playing fields in Acton, Rhosnesni and Bradley – with Wrexham Council behind all three applications.

He said: “There have been a rash of separate proposals put forward by Wrexham Council in the last two months to build on green space.

“All have been initiated by the council and land owned by the council is often being used because it is in the council's financial interests and makes projects cheaper.

“Several years ago, a strong community campaign meant the council put a halt to proposals to build on the Nine Acre field near Wrexham’s town centre.

“The present council needs to take greater heed of local voices when putting forward proposals and be much more straightforward in saying why a particular site has been chosen for development.

“There are strong voices on all sides when green spaces are built on – councillors need to be sure they are making the right decisions for the right reasons.”

Cllr Alun Jenkins, the council’s lead member for finance and asset management, said: “As Mr Lucas is well aware, any disposal of council land is subject to consultation with local ward members and the council actively engages with the community when considering alternative uses for its land and buildings.

“In the cases mentioned I would like to point out that as regards Nine Acre in Acton, this was first put to consultation by the previousLabour administration under the then leader Shan Wilkinson and was taken off the agenda following strong public opposition. The current administration recognised this opposition and the field has subsequently been leased to Yale College for sporting use.

“In Rhosnesni there are two proposals that will benefit the area known locally as Spider Park. One will see the relocation of the Borras surgery to the area and this has already been the subject of extensive consultation.

“This proposal will also see the provision of improvements to the changing and parking facilities offered to footballers and their families at weekends and evenings, which will prevent the current situation whereby footballers have to park in surrounding streets and change in their cars.

“The other proposal also sees Owain Glyndwr protected status offered to the two football pitches widely used by the community.

“In Bradley, the proposals to build a new Welsh medium school on Delamere Avenue are well known to the local community, councillors and Wrexham as a whole and the need and demand for a Welsh school in this particular area are well established and documented.

“I should also like to point out that the Gwersyllt area is one of a few in Wrexham county that has an over provision of open spaces and playing fields and these figures do not include the expansive Alyn Waters Country Park.”

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