A GROUP of Wrexham councillors claim they have been “gagged” from debating a controversial housing blueprint.

Wrexham Council’s Local Development Plan, which allocates land for almost 8,000 homes in the county borough over the coming decade, was recently thrown into disarray.

It followed council leader Mark Pritchard’s independent group deciding to pull their support for it at the eleventh hour due to inspectors’ concerns over plans to locate a Gypsy and Traveller site within Alyn Waters Country Park in Llay.

Plaid Cymru’s four councillors had submitted a motion to a full council meeting scheduled for December 16th calling for the complete withdrawal of the authority’s backing.

However, despite being told it had been accepted for discussion, the council’s chief legal officer revealed yesterday (Thursday 3 December) that it was to be delayed.

Queensway councillor Carrie Harper, who submitted the motion, said: “Councillors are being gagged on a key matter of concern across the borough.

“Green fields surrounding Wrexham and neighbouring villages face becoming urban sprawl if this plan gets the go ahead and that’s why we’re calling for a review of support in light of changing facts and circumstances.

“It’s surprising, to say the least, that an officer would pull a motion on the basis of independent legal advice at the last minute without consulting with the democratically elected councillors who put forward that motion.

“We weren’t even told that she was seeking legal advice.

“We’ll wait to see what that advice says but this is not the end of this story by any means.”

In a statement, the council said it originally thought the motion could be considered at the meeting later this month.

But after seeking external legal opinion, it said it was decided it shouldn’t be debated until the independent examination of the LDP by Welsh Government inspectors is complete.

The council said: “The reason for this, is that any decision to withdraw support while the examination is still ongoing puts the council at risk of undermining an important legal process.

“So by postponing the motion, we’re protecting the council from a course of action that could lead to it acting unlawfully.

“It’s important to understand that the motion isn’t being stopped from going to council for debate – it’s just being postponed.

“Once the independent examination is complete, the motion can be included on the agenda at a meeting of the council and considered alongside the recommendations in the inspectors’ report.”

Planning officers are due to attend a virtual meeting with the inspectors next week in a bid to address their outstanding concerns about the LDP.

In the meantime, Plaid Cymru councillors have revealed plans for a virtual public meeting on the plan.

The Facebook live meeting from 7pm on Tuesday, December 8th, will allow local residents to discuss and ask questions about the blueprint.

Cllr Harper added: “We’re holding this virtual public meeting because we want people to have their say about the LDP and also to help make sense of it.

“If it goes ahead – and we sincerely hope it doesn’t – then it will mean huge new estates being built on either side of Wrexham along with growing urban sprawl on good agricultural land.”

Anyone wishing to submit a question to the Facebook Live meeting, which will be hosted at www.facebook.com/CarrieWrecsam, can e-mail plaidwrecsam@gmail.com or text 07747792441.