CONTROVERSIAL plans to build houses surrounding a Royal British Legion club have been approved despite fears over the impact on health services.

Politicians in Wrexham considered proposals for 51 new homes, a 4,000 square foot retail unit and boxing club next to the social club in Llay for a second time on Monday after originally rejecting them last year.

The application was resubmitted by the organisation’s headquarters in London in November, in the face of objections from club members that it could lead to its closure.

Llay councillor Rob Walsh (Lib Dem) told a planning committee meeting that capacity at the village’s GP surgery had hit crisis point and urged them to reject the scheme once more.

He highlighted cases where residents had called Alyn Family Doctors for an appointment more than 100 times, only to be told none were available.

Speaking at Wrexham’s Guildhall, he said: “You may remember me saying in July about the problems we have with getting GP appointments in Llay.

“It’s not got any better, in fact it’s got worse.

“Every day I look at my social media feed and see local residents saying they can’t get in.

“150 times they phone and they still can’t get an appointment. This is a crisis.

“Alyn Family Doctors cannot cope with the number of patients it’s got.

“Until this is addressed I really do think there should be a moratorium on development in these villages.”

The committee was told no objections had been raised against the proposals by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

However, Cllr Bryan Apsley (Lab), asked how members could rely on the board’s evidence in light of it being placed in special measures.

Cllr Apsley, who is the secretary of the Llay RBL club and declared a personal interest, said: “This application is no different from the previous one except we’re in a more serious position.

“I would ask how we can take any notice of an organisation that is in special measures because of serious outstanding concerns about the leadership, governance and progress in the health board for some time.”

Despite the concerns raised, officers from Wrexham Council recommended the housing scheme for approval.

In a report, the authority’s head of environment and planning Lawrence Isted warned councillors they could be accused of ‘unreasonable behaviour’ if they were to use their original reasons for refusal.

Speaking on behalf of the central RBL organisation, planning agent Guy Maxfield also stressed the cost implications for the council.

He said: “We have resubmitted this application with additional information regarding the two prior reasons for refusal, as well as to avoid an appeal that could be very costly for Wrexham Council.

“As a charity the British Legion would have a fiduciary duty to claim costs if refused as otherwise the costs for appeal would come from spending on meeting the needs of ex-servicemen whose regimental flags decorate this building and the park opposite.

“We’re not avaricious developers, we’re a charity.”

Gwersyllt councillor Tina Mannering (Ind) put forward a recommendation for the scheme to be refused on the grounds of the impact on health and education.

However, it was rejected by the majority of committee members and the development is now set to go ahead.