OPPONENTS who fought plans to create new accommodation for disabled people in Wrexham have been criticised for making “distressing” comments.

Councillors met to discuss proposals to convert a family home on Ffordd Glyn in Erddig into four specialist apartments to help individuals live independently.

A total of 143 objections were submitted to the local authority ahead of the planning committee meeting amid concerns from neighbours about traffic and parking.

Issues were also raised about the potential background of tenants and the impact on crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.

The Leader:

First Choice Housing has entered proposals to convert a family home on Ffordd Glyn in Wrexham into supported living accommodation. Source: First Choice Housing

However, most members chose to grant permission for the application after they were told there was a “clear need” for the supported living initiative, which will be run by First Choice Housing Association in partnership with the council.

During the debate, Labour group leader Dana Davies condemned the nature of some of the feedback on the plans.

The Ruabon councillor said: “When I read this application, I found it really distressing from the summary of objections that we’ve received.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation that’s been passed around because I’ve got supported living in my ward for adults with learning disabilities.

The Leader:

“I just want to reassure everybody here that supported living accommodation enhances your community. It doesn’t take anything away from your community at all.

“Reading the summary and the fact we’ve got elected members comparing this development to HMO style properties I think is horrendous.

“It talks in the summary as well about crime, anti-social behaviour, impact upon freedom of children, vulnerability of windows, monitoring of residents, safety of school children and (it being) not acceptable for the types of residents who might be housed in the property.

“I found the whole list which is two pages extremely distressing.”

Cllr Davies added the council needed to do more work to educate people on the positive impact of supported living schemes.

Among those who opposed the plans was Wrexham’s new MP Sarah Atherton, as well as local Conservative councillor Paul Roberts.

Despite being employed as a social worker, Ms Atherton said she believed the property was in the wrong location.

In a last minute report circulated to councillors, she said: “This is a residential area, where such a property would look totally out of character with the residential surroundings, changing the appearance from a residential property to a commercial property.

“The extension, as outlined, would not give enough parking for four residents and their carers.

“I am informed that First Choice will run the property as supported living for a set time. Following this the property may be sold as a house of multi-occupation.

“Residents are rightly concerned that this will have a negative impact on the area and its reputation.

“Given the issues identified with access and provision of the infrastructure, design of the proposal, may I suggest this planning application be rejected and the council work with First Choice Housing to find a more suitable property, within the Wrexham area.”

At the start of the meeting, the committee heard from First Choice’s director of operations Richard Lloyd who said the housing association mainly catered for adults with learning disabilities.

He said it already owned 22 properties across Wrexham and the new scheme would be used to support people from the local area.

It comes as there are currently around 40 people on the waiting list for disabled housing in the county borough.

The plans were supported by Gwersyllt west councillor Gwenfair Jones, who echoed Cllr Davies’s remarks.

She said: “I found some of the comments quite distressing as well and I will be fully supporting this application.

“This home will accommodate four of Wrexham’s vulnerable residents and like all of us they have a choice where we want to live.

“As a councillor who has a respite house in my ward, I can assure you it has not caused any antisocial behaviour or increase in crime. In fact, the neighbours have embraced residents and families.”

The proposals were passed by a majority of 14 votes to one with one councillor also choosing to abstain.

Permission was granted subject to a condition being added to create extra parking spaces at the front of the property.