AN APPEAL has been launched amid claims councillors acted unreasonably in rejecting proposals for a mental health unit in Wrexham.

Planning committee members rejected plans for a 54-bed low secure facility off Mold Road in Gwersyllt in March because they felt it would represent an over-intensive use of the site.

However, managers of applicant ASC Real Estate Investments Ltd have now put forward an appeal against what they described as ‘prejudiced reasons’ for refusal, following comments made by some councillors at the meeting.

In the wake of the decision, a number of elected members were criticised for remarks about the unit being located close to a school and railway tracks, and it led to mental health training sessions being held for councillors.

In an appeal statement prepared on the company’s behalf, J10 Planning Ltd described the policy used to justify turning down the application as ‘bewildering’.

They said: “The appellant is of the opinion that the reason for refusal on the decision notice does not accurately reflect the views expressed by members of the planning committee and that the resultant decision has been fabricated.

“This is curious because at no time during the debate did officers or members mention over-intensification.

“While the decision notice refers to just one Unitary Development Plan policy, the committee report regularly and specifically confirms that the proposal is in

compliance with this policy.

“This makes the reason this policy has been used even more curious, bewildering and inconsistent.

“It would appear the decision to refuse permission was ‘manufactured and contrived’ to justify the prejudiced reasons that were presented by certain members seeking a refusal at planning committee; as can be seen when reviewing the committee webcast.”

During March’s meeting Chirk north councillor Frank Hemmings criticised some committee members for comparing the people who would be housed in the unit to ‘dangerous and possible criminals’.

He said: “They are people who need help and support.  We should not assume all are dangerous to children, we should be helping these people.”

The application requested permission to demolish vacant buildings on land off Mold Road in order to build a 54 bedroom low secure unit.

The company said the proposed accommodation would comprise an assessment treatment unit, a low secure unit, amenity accommodation and staff/service accommodation and has also issued an application for costs against council.

They added  the treatment unit would be used exclusively for adults aged 18 and over who had experienced a crisis.

The appeal will be heard by the Planning Inspectorate at a date which has yet to be set.