PLANS to build new houses on the site of a former youth club look set to go ahead despite its proximity to a chemical works which has been linked to cancer.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised that proposals for up five homes on the site of the The Maelor Youth Club in Acrefair should be rejected.

Officials said there would be safety implications from allowing development near the former Flexys Rubber Chemicals factory, which closed in 2011.

Researchers previously found that staff at the Flexsys plant who came into contact with MBT – a chemical used to manufacture rubber – were twice as likely to die of large intestine and bladder cancers.

However, Wrexham Council’s head of planning said he did not think there would be an ‘imminent risk’ to people living in the proposed houses off Llangollen Road as the facility is no longer in use.

In a report, Lawrence Isted said: “Whilst the HSE have advised against granting planning permission, I am mindful of the planning history of a number of sites around Cefn Mawr and Acrefair where the council have granted schemes of residential development.

“Whilst the Flexsys site does still benefit from a hazardous substance consent, there is no clear intention of the site being reoccupied for a use that would benefit from that consent.

“The council is aware of the landowner’s intentions to seek a mixed used remediation and regeneration of the site.

“Large scale housing developments have been approved previously where the HSE have advised against granting planning permission, namely the former Air Products site across the road from the current application site.

“In this instance, I do not consider there to be an existing or imminent risk to potential occupiers of the site.”

Researchers from the University of Birmingham published a report in 2009 looking at the death rate of staff who worked at the plant, as well as the diagnoses of cancer.

It led to concerns being raised over possible contamination at the factory site.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring youth centre was struck by a large blaze in 2017.

It was sold for £20,000 in April by auctioneers Pugh & Co and has now been demolished despite calls by Cefn Community Council for it to be preserved.

In a statement on behalf of the developers, consultancy firm The Planning Group Ltd said: “The building has significantly deteriorated in the last 10 years especially having suffered quite severe fire damage.

“An alternative use for the site needs to be found as a matter of urgency as the buildings present an unattractive feature in the street scene especially having regard to them being sited immediately to the rear of the footpath.

“The development will contribute to the provision of housing in a clearly sustainable location and officers and members are requested to support the application subject to appropriate conditions.”

The proposals will be discussed by Wrexham Council’s planning committee on Monday.

In cases where a planning authority wants to grant permission against the advice of the HSE, it is required to notify them.

The government agency then has 21 days to decide whether to call the application in to be considered by the Welsh Government.