A WELSH Government minister has backed the number of houses included in a key development blueprint for Wrexham after inspectors raised concerns over whether it was ambitious enough.

Wrexham Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) sets out land where approximately 8,500 new homes could be created in the county over the next ten years.

However, the Planning Inspectorate is set to hold further hearings into the proposals after questioning its decision to reduce the amount from 11,715 in the early stages.

North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd AM has questioned housing minister Julie James after accusing the inspectors of putting pressure on the local authority to increase the number of properties.

The Plaid Cymru politician said it would mean more housing estates being built on greenfield sites and the creation of an ‘urban sprawl’.

He added that static population figures in Wrexham meant a rethink was needed before further damage was done to communities.

Speaking in the Senedd on Wednesday, January 29, he said: “Over the past five years, the increase in population has been significantly lower than the forecasts.

“Despite this, the Planning Inspectorate still isn’t listening because they continue to challenge Wrexham Council.

“Wrexham Council is looking at a target of some 8,500 homes in their LDP, whilst the Planning Inspectorate insist that they need around 12,000 in that plan.

“That will mean building more homes on greenfield sites and it will create some sort of urban sprawl which will destroy unique communities in the area.

“Where does the government stand on this issue – are you in favour of a regime which enforces the building of unnecessary homes or are you in favour of protecting our communities and our environment?”

An examination was initially held to scrutinise Wrexham’s LDP during the autumn.

In December, the inspectorate wrote to the council to raise concerns after describing the document as ‘flawed’.

As a result, three additional hearings will be held over the next two months to look at housing figures and the selection of Gypsy and Traveller sites.

In response to the points raised, Ms James said the government supported the numbers outlined by the authority.

She said: “The LDP is currently at examination stage and the inspectors have raised concerns about the level of housing included in the plan, specifically questioning whether it is aspirational enough.

“The level of housing proposed by the council aligns with the 2014 base ten-year migration variant published by Welsh Government, which is a requirement of 7,750 homes.

“Officials have made public representations supporting the level of housing in Wrexham’s LDP and do not consider it should be increased further.”

Inspectors have given the council until the end of January to provide clarification on the housing figures.

A hearing will then be held on March 11 at Wrexham Memorial Hall to consider the matter further.