TWO controversial schemes put forward by a university which could have seen around 200 new houses built in Wrexham have been refused.

It came despite warnings from Glyndwr University that permission was needed for the two sites in New Broughton and Rhosnesni to fund the £60 million redevelopment of its main campus on Mold Road.

Wrexham Council’s planning committee met tonight to discuss a total of nine applications put forward by the university as part of its Campus 2025 programme.

A total of seven of them were approved to enable it to demolish and reinvigorate learning facilities at the Plas Coch campus, as well an arts college on Regent Street in the town.

Meanwhile, backing was also given to create more than 700 rooms worth of accommodation cross the two sites for students and key workers at other locations in the county.

However, councillors drew the line at giving the go ahead to 112 new homes on grazing land on Gatewen Road in New Broughton, and 74 properties on a sports field on Dean Road in Rhosnesni.

It came after one of the council’s own highways officers made a number of damning comments about the impact on the area’s road network after entering into a disagreement with planning officers, who recommended the schemes for approval.

Peter Douthwaite said:  “I note the planning officer has referred to highways comments as being anecdotal as though they were untrue.

“The council themselves undertook a survey to look at the congestion issues around Mold Road and the B&Q roundabout a number of years ago.

“The report states that the roundabouts and the surrounding areas are already over capacity.

“There was a public exhibition held last week actually in Glyndwr by Welsh Government.

“One of the reasons they are undertaking the study is because of local traffic congestion in Wrexham and poor local transport infrastructure.

“These studies are not anecdotal as the planning officer would like you to believe.”

During the four-hour-long deliberations on the university’s applications, a number of concerns were raised.

It included widespread anger from the community about the potential loss of open space at the Rhosnesni site, which is currently used by a local football club.

Despite the university promising a new pitch for them, the committee was told Wrexham Council currently owns part of the allocated site and has yet to agree whether to give it to them.

Meanwhile, worries were also expressed about the added journey time for commuters on the main roads around Wrexham Maelor Hospital during rush hour, which Mr Douthwaite said would be caused by the new houses in New Broughton.

Brian Cunningham, who lives nearby, accused the university of trying to use the land as a ‘cash cow’ and not paying regard to the views of residents.

He said: “As far as the comments at the beginning to say these reports are being dealt with independently and within their own right.

“No-one believes that that is possible.

“The applicant says in his own documents that approval of individual plots would be compromised by not creating a wider enabling development.

“My view is this application is simply a cash cow to fund development.”

Earlier in the meeting, planning consultant Andrew Smith said the collective applications would allow the university to transform its facilities, attracting new students and economic growth in Wrexham.

He also warned the committee that the university’s future was in its hands.

He said: “Glyndwr can’t build the student halls which this application seeks consent for if there aren’t the student numbers to fill them.

“Student numbers aren’t going to increase until the academic facilities are redeveloped.

“The whole package of applications before you are linked, one aspect allows another aspect to happen.

“The future of Wrexham’s university is being placed in the hands of Wrexham’s planning committee.”

However, despite his warnings, councillors voted by a majority to refuse both housing applications.