Residents fume as Marford mini mart appeal granted


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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