LAST-MINUTE changes to a key housing blueprint for Wrexham will allow developers to escape a requirement to deliver hundreds of affordable homes, it’s been claimed.

Opposition councillors have raised serious concerns after a small group of four independent and Conservative politicians made the decision, which equates to a 60 per cent reduction to the original obligation within Wrexham Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP).

Plaid Cymru politicians say the move will result in almost 800 fewer lower priced properties being built across the county, which they said could benefit housebuilders to the tune of millions of pounds.

The remaining 48 community leaders on the local authority were only notified about it on Tuesday, despite the final hearing to scrutinise the plan being scheduled for this Friday.

The alterations have partly been made as a result of a viability assessment put forward by district valuers regarding two key housing sites on Ruthin Road and Cefn Road in the town, where more than 3,000 houses could be created.

Cllr Carrie Harper, who represents the Queensway area of Caia Park, has slammed the reduction of the affordable requirement for both areas to just ten per cent, which means more than 500 fewer homes will be delivered.

She said: “Reducing the numbers of affordable homes allocated seriously jeopardises the plan as a whole and the decision seems to have been made as a result of developers putting pressure on officers and councillors.

“The two key strategic sites on Ruthin Road and Cefn Road, that could provide almost 3,000 new homes between them, were due to have a 30 per cent affordable housing element.

“But this new proposal – which is based on how much developers should be able to profit from such plans – now means there will only be ten per cent affordable homes on these huge new developments.

“That’s 500 fewer affordable homes. Why bother to have a long and detailed planning process if the goalposts can be moved at the very last minute?”

Plaid Cymru councillors have now submitted a complaint to the council’s monitoring officer over the lack of notice given.

They have also voiced disappointment after being told it was too late for them to speak about the alterations at a public examination being held by planning inspectors tomorrow (Thursday, October 10).

Over the plan period which runs until 2028, the council said a total of 505 affordable houses are likely to be delivered from all sites following the changes, compared to the original expectation of 1,283.

The authority’s chief planning officer said he regretted the reduction, but added it was made in response to queries raised directly by the inspectors.

Lawrence Isted also defended the process used to make the decision, which he said was agreed by councillors in 2018.

He said: “Whilst any reduction in affordable housing is to be regretted, the council must use the most up to date evidence available when presenting its case to the inspectors who are examining the LDP.

“The aspirations that we have for affordable housing must actually be deliverable and the LDP will have to adapt to reflect evidence of viability as well as of need.

“This matter will be discussed in full in the hearing scheduled for tomorrow after which it will be for the independent inspectors to decide how the plan is taken forward.”