LARGE commercial bins are having a damaging impact on the appearance of a historic area of Wrexham town centre, a leading councillor has claimed.

Concerns have also been raised about the smell and potential fire hazard posed by the storage of waste containers on pavements and public spaces, including those close to the Grade I listed St Giles’ Parish Church.

Cllr Phil Wynn, whose Brynyffynnon ward includes part of the town centre, said he believed bars and nightclubs were partly responsible for the issue.

He has previously called for either daily commercial waste collections or lockable compounds to be created where bins can be stored at a cost.

The executive board member is now hopeful that actions detailed in a new plan to protect the conservation area surrounding the church could help to reduce the problem.

Speaking at a meeting where leading councillors agreed to adopt the draft Wrexham Town Centre Conservation Area Management Plan, Cllr Wynn (Ind) said: “One concern that I’ve raised with a number of officers and the elected member is the concern about the proliferation of clutter on our highways, particularly commercial bins, so I’m pleased that issue has been acknowledged.

“I’m particularly concerned about the only Grade I listed building within the conservation area, which is the parish church at St Giles’.

“At the entrance, there is a proliferation of commercial bins which tend to belong to the night time economy operators.

“I do hope that we can ensure we come up with a solution, as outlined in the plan, that can actually put these commercial bins out of view.

“Also, we know these bins have been set alight in the past along Temple Row, so they are a fire hazard.”

The conservation area was first created in 1974 and includes historic buildings such as the Butcher’s Market, the Wynnstay Hotel and the Border Brewery chimney on Tuttle Street.

Under the latest 10-year action plan, new developments will need to include details of waste management to reduce the amount of rubbish on the streets.

The document states: “Lack of suitable locations to conceal or provide discreet commercial bin storage is a concern.

“This creates a cluttered appearance which detracts from the setting of key listed buildings and in particular, important views and links to the Parish Church.

“Purpose built storage areas are required to conceal and better manage refuse disposal in order to tackle the existing problems whilst appropriate bin storage should be designed into all new development proposals within the town centre to prevent the problem escalating.”

Despite the actions outlined, another town centre politician said he did not believe the local authority had the capacity to enforce against poor waste management.

Cllr Alun Jenkins (Lib Dem), who represents the Offa ward, questioned whether the council had enough officers to start a crackdown.

He said: “The plan that we’ve got is first class, but the one concern that I’ve got is that it’s pointless having a plan unless we can enforce it.

“I do have real concerns now that the enforcement side is one where we are struggling, again because of the lack of resources.”

Cllr David Kelly (Ind), lead member for planning and corporate services, said he recognised there were issues around the number of enforcement staff available.

He added that the issue of commercial bins could be complex because of land ownership.

He said: “I understand Phil’s comments, and he has been consistent on the bin issue in the town centre.

“I have asked Anna (Irwin, conservation officer) to look at the issue of the bins and the proliferation around the parish church.

“I think we are all aware that there may be title to land issues to resolve this issue.”

Executive board members unanimously voted to adopt the draft plan.