CAMPAIGNERS have expressed their disappointment as plans for more than 40 houses in their village look set to be approved.

It comes despite concerns being raised about proposals by Gower Homes to develop green barrier land off Vicarage Lane in Gresford.

The housebuilders have claimed it will be worth £7.5 million to the local economy and create new construction jobs.

However, members of the Vicarage Lane Action Group have voiced opposition to the scheme as they say it will impact on the safety of drivers and pedestrians on a narrow road.

They have also criticised the fact that the 44-property development has been recommended for approval by officers from Wrexham Council’s planning department ahead of a crunch meeting on Monday, (DEL 29 JULY 2019) despite the authority’s highways officers also raising issues.

Spokesman Jonathan Paletta said: “We’ve maintained since we saw the plans that it was an unsuitable development because of the issues with the road and we think the mitigation issues are only going to make things worse actually.

“We’re very disappointed that the planning officers hasn’t taken on the recommendation of the highways officer and it makes you wonder why the council bothers consulting technical officers with specialist expertise if they’re not going to be listened to.

“The road is just very unsuitable, and it can be an absolute nightmare at times.

“I know of quite a few people who want to go along and Monday and this is important to show the planning committee what we feel about this.”

Gower said the eleven affordable homes included in the proposals would be the first built in the village since around the 1950s and are needed to address the demand in the area.

The company added that traffic calming measures would be introduced on Vicarage Lane to alleviate the current problems.

But Conservative county councillor Andrew Atkinson has also said he does not support the scheme.

In documents set to go before the committee, he said: “Vicarage Lane already experiences congestion and is dangerous; this development would worsen the existing situation.

“The proposal would result in significant increase in traffic volumes.

“The highway authority has indicated that they could not support the proposal.

“The proposal would destroy the rural character of Gresford.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper has also questioned why the planning department has ignored the advice of the highways officer.

It follows a public dispute between the two departments at a separate planning committee meeting earlier this month over plans by Glyndwr University to create new housing in the area.

She said: “The planning department’s recommendation to approve 44 homes on a green field site at Vicarage Lane, Gresford, is another sign that developers are having their own way in Wrexham.

“There are good highways and environmental arguments why this excellent agricultural land should be maintained yet planners have ignored their own specialist officers’ advice – yet again.

“Recent planning recommendations mean that Wrexham is in danger of seeing villages merge into an ugly urban sprawl, losing the green spaces that we all treasure and allowing developers rather than the community to dictate what kinds of housing are built and where.”

In his report, Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer agreed that the plans were against its policies.

However, he said there was ‘exceptional circumstances’ to back the scheme because of the lack of available housing land in the county and dismissed the points raised by the highways department.

Lawrence Isted said: “The proposal does not accord with any of the criteria set out in policy EC1 that permits development in green barrier or policy H5 that permits residential development outside settlement limits.

“Notwithstanding the above, Planning Policy Wales requires that planning authorities must ensure that sufficient land is genuinely available or will become available to provide a five-year supply of land for housing.

“There is clear evidence of a persistent and considerable undersupply of housing which points to an urgent need to increase the supply of land available.

“It is considered that housing land supply is a material consideration that should continue to be afforded considerable weight and weighs heavily in favour of the development.

“Whilst the highway officer has commented that there would be a significant increase in vehicular traffic, no comments have been provided to indicate if and how this would result in adverse impacts to highway safety.”