A BLUEPRINT for more than 8,000 new homes in Wrexham is set to take a major step forward.

It comes as Wrexham Council prepares to submit its Local Development Plan, which indicates land where houses could be built in the area over the next 10 years, to the Welsh Government.

The plan also outlines a number of locations where new businesses could be introduced in a bid to create up to 4,200 new jobs

The authority received approximately 3,000 responses to a public consultation on the proposals, 40 per cent of which centred around the possible position of three new gypsy and traveller sites.

Wrexham has been without an LDP since 2011 after its initial plans were kicked out by officials in Cardiff.

Council leader Mark Pritchard said the document is now at a pivotal stage and will protect the area from speculative developments.

He said: “We all need to be mindful that because we haven’t had a plan in place, we’ve had predatory developers coming in and taking full advantage of it.

“The likes of Llay have been hit heavily and we all know the history of that.

“I think it’s so important that we give the inspector an opportunity to look at it and examine it.

“If we don’t, we could lose the opportunity to have influence on this plan.

“It won’t become a Local Development Plan, it will become a National Development Plan which is out of our hands and that would be a disaster for Wrexham.”

As part of the plan, three potential locations have been suggested for up to 24 traveller plots, with land at Pont Y Capel in Llay, Coed Y Felin Road in Brymbo and near the A525 in Hanmer provisionally put forward.

There has been vocal opposition within those communities to the sites, but Cllr David Kelly, lead member for planning, said there was an identified need for extra places for members of the travelling community.

He said: “The planning policy panel decided to allocate three sites proportionally to distribute the numbers effectively.

“The inspector may see it differently and turn around and say ‘Actually I think you should deliver the numbers on one site.’

“With a lot of communities it’s probably the fear of something they haven’t had to deal with in the past.

“Gypsy and traveller sites is something the authority will deal with regardless of the plan because they’re here, they’ve been here for a number of years and they’re here to stay.”

Two sites where thousands of homes are expected to be built are off Ruthin Road and Cefn Road in Wrexham.

Parts of villages like Rossett, Gwersyllt and Llay have also been earmarked.

Feelings have run high in some areas and it is understood that some politicians have received abuse over the proposals.

However, Wrexham Council’s chief executive Ian Bancroft has asked for a well mannered debate when the plan is discussed by leading councillors next Tuesday.

He said: “I think many people are seeing this as a planning application when it’s not.

“It sets out principles and there will be a whole range of things which change over time, but it provides the basis and that’s the importance of it.

“There’s a real risk that the debate could become very negative and could also become divisive for individual communities and groups.

“It’s important we have a respectful debate and listen to people’s opinions, and people who put forward opinions are also respectful in the way they present those.”

Executive board members will be asked to approve the plan’s submission.

An independent inspector will then be given all of the representations received during the consultation exercise.

A public examination is expected to run for several months during which residents will be able to take part at the inspector’s discretion.

Any changes made will be set out set in the inspector’s final report, which is expected to be issued at the end of 2019.