Planners call time on community hub in Wrexham

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

THE fate of the last remaining pub in a Wrexham community will be decided today.

Wrexham Council’s planning committee is expected to give the green light to controversial proposals to shut the Red Dragon in Caia Park and transform it into a rehabilitation centre for people recovering from brain injuries.

The application, which will go before the planning committee this evening, has been recommended for approval by officers.

Furious residents keen to hang on to their only pub launched a petition in a last-ditch attempt to save it.

Campaign organiser and resident, Kath Williams, said the pub in Prince Charles Road had become a real “community hub” since it was taken over by landlord and landlady, Paul and Linda Slater, two years ago.

Wynnstay ward councillor Malcolm King said: “I think it will be a significant loss to the area if it does close down, it plays an important part in life on the estate.

“I’m also not sure that it is the place for this sort of unit at all. It’s the sort of thing that you would perhaps expect in a leafy area rather than by a shopping development in the middle of a housing estate.”

Caia Park Community Council has also objected to the plans on the grounds that it would be the “loss of a community facility”.

But a report by Wrexham’s chief planning officer Lawrence Isted disputes the claims.

The report states: “Whilst I fully appreciate that some local residents do not want to see the closure or loss of the public house, the evidence submitted with the application suggests that business has not been, and is unlikely to generate sufficient income to continue trading in the long term.

“The loss of the public house would not leave local residents completely devoid of local facilities.

"There are other public houses within a relatively short distance of the site.

“I am satisfied the proposals will not have a significant harmful impact upon the social and economic fabric of the area.”

The proposed facility would provide supported living accommodation for up to seven adults with brain injuries, including those caused by accidents, falls or strokes.

The land is owned by the council, but is leased by Admiral Taverns.

The current landlord and landlady are care taker managers put in place while permanent managers can be found.

But the report by Mr Isted states there has been no interest from potential licensees.

Mr Isted added: “Even if the current application is not granted permission it will not secure the continued use of the premises as a public house as if Admiral Taverns sees no future in keeping the business open, the public house will be closed and the site left vacant and at risk of becoming derelict.”

Speaking to the Leader after the petition was launched landlady Linda Slater said: “We really love this place and want to see it kept as a pub.”

At the time of going to press there was no one available for comment at Punch Taverns.

See full story in the Leader

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