AN APPLICATION for £30,000 to fund the Venture playground has been rejected, with councillors refusing to tax Caia Park residents more to pay for it.

The request from the Venture to Caia Park Community Council came at the same time as another asking to fund play provision at Gwenfro Valley from September onwards, as the children's integrated centre closed at the weekend.

At their monthly meeting, councillors were asked to consider two separate grant applications to maintain play provision at opposite ends of the estate.

Funding for Gwenfro Valley CIC has dried up since the Welsh Government's Communities First programme ceased, and although the centre has had to close, a petition from parents and residents to the community council told members they would like money to be spent on some sort of play provision at the location in the future.

Clerk Michael Morris told councillors funding could be taken from reserves to fund a couple of play sessions a week at Gwenfro Valley in Queensway until March, without having to raise the precept, but if they were to provide funding for both at this stage, council tax would have to rise to replace those reserves.

Prior to debate and a decision being made council chair Cllr Malcolm King, chief officer of the Venture, had to declare an interest and leave the room.

Members baulked at the prospect of hiking up council tax, and Queensway County Cllr Carrie Harper said Cllr King had put them in a difficult situation by asking for this money with a lack of detail as to how it would be spent.

She said: "The Venture application puts us in a really, really difficult decision.

"The chair of this community council is asking us to put council tax up to fund his own organisation."

Cllr Harper proposed agreeing funding for Gwenfro Valley but not the Venture at this stage and this view was supported by Smithfield Cllr Jayne Johnson.

Whitegate Cllr Brian Cameron suggested they defer making a decision on the Venture's application to find out more details and whether it was at risk of closing if it did not receive the funding.

But Queensway Cllr Steve Jones said this was "scaremongering".

The majority of members voted to reject this £30,000 funding application from the Venture as it did not meet their criteria, but would consider an application in the future if there were more details provided as to where the money was to be spent.

In a separate vote members agreed to fund the maximum amount of play provision they could at Gwenfro Valley from September to March, without being forced to raise council tax.

By voting for this option, the council will spend £9,000 on two play sessions a week at Gwenfro Valley until March 2019, when they will decide whether to carry on funding sessions for a full year.

A Wrexham Youth and Play Partnership (WYPP) is to be set up to deliver the play sessions.

Caia Park Community Council had already agreed to fund three play sessions a week at Gwenfro Valley throughout the school summer holidays at a cost of £2,286, so the Holiday Hunger Project can be delivered to children who might otherwise struggle to be fed without school meals.