AFFORDABLE housing units will not be built on the former Air Products site in Wrexham, despite senior councillors objections.

The Leader reported earlier this year how Wrexham Council planning committee members discussed a scheme entailing more than 230 properties at the Air Products site in Acrefair - permission for which was initially granted for in 2018.

At a meeting of the committee in June this year it was revealed that Prospect Estates Limited has sought to remove the obligation, along with another to make a quarter of the properties affordable, claiming it would render the scheme unviable

A report before the planning committee recommended the council amends the planning obligation in respect of the scheme by removing the requirement to provide affordable housing.

Despite objections from senior council members, the scheme has been backed to progress without the need to provide affordable housing provision

Wrexham Council planning officer David Williams told the meeting that several other housing developments in close proximity of the land are meeting that need for affordable housing in Wrexham.

Mr Williams said: “We have 157 units that will be potentially provided over the next few years.”

He goes on to say that within Acrefair, Plas Madoc, Rhosymedre, Cefn Mawr and Ruabon areas, the Local Housing Market Assessment states there is a total need for an additional 17 properties per year in total.

The planned developments for these communities over the next five years will provide all the Affordable Housing units the assessment states are needed and argues this removes the need for any additional affordable housing developments within the area for the next five years.

He adds: “It’s important that if we support this it is a one-off situation and I think the evidence is there for us to take a relaxed view on the affordable housing. I know members are keen to see us [the council] provide as much as we can, but we have to be realistic in terms of what we can achieve.

“I think if we insisted upon it, we would lose an opportunity to develop what is a long-standing vacant site and help regenerate and improve the overall appearance for this area.”

Major concerns were raised by Cllr Dana Davies, representing Ruabon, who said the planning team have a duty to meet a certain level of affordable houses built per year that they are not delivering on.

She said: “I have a huge issue with affordable housing. According to Wrexham Council’s own housing needs assessment as part of our LDP, it actually tells us that we have a shortfall of affordable housing.”

Cllr Davies says that this stands at 157 affordable homes every year over a five-year period.

She continues: “It has been identified that over the next five years across Wales we need 4,400 market houses and 3,900 affordable homes. There is a need for affordable homes and we don’t seem to be recognising that as the local planning authority.

“We know as a planning committee that we are not delivering on that.”

The Ruabon councillor said that she would not be supporting a vote for zero affordable homes to be built and said “it goes against everything I stand for.”

Despite these arguments, the council members on the committee voted to approve the development.