A DEVELOPER has asked for more time to build apartments on a derelict site where a chapel once stood in Wrexham.

The former Ebeneser Chapel on Chester Road was demolished in 2017 after approval was given for 23 apartments to be created in its place.

However, no progress has been made on the development since, leading to complaints from community leaders that the site has become an “eyesore” on the main approach into the town centre.

With planning permission due to expire soon, applicant John Small is seeking an extension of between three to five years to start work after blaming the difficult economic conditions caused by Brexit and Covid-19 for the delay.

In documents submitted to Wrexham Council, he said more time was required to secure enough money to support the scheme.

The extension has now been backed for approval by the local authority’s chief planning officer for a period of three years.

In a report to councillors, Lawrence Isted said: “It has been just over four years since planning permission was granted and it is true to say that economic conditions have been very difficult during this period.

“The planning permission has less than a year to run and so the timing of the application is appropriate.

“The appearance of the site is a cause of concern and the applicant has offered to discuss a more appropriate boundary treatment for the building site once an extension of time is granted.

“It is considered that working with the developer to discharge the conditions and allow development to commence in a slightly longer time frame is the best way to ensure that the site does not remain vacant for a long period.”

Objections have been raised by Plaid Cymru councillors Becca Martin and Marc Jones ahead of the application being considered, as well as the local community council.

Cllr Jones said: “Wrexham has far too many derelict buildings and wasteland as it is, no doubt in part because we have been too lenient with developers who find themselves unable to continue the work for whatever reason.

“Offers to change the fencing is just window dressing as he’s made clear that he doesn’t have the finance in place to build on the site.”

In response, Mr Isted said there were no relevant planning grounds to refuse the extension.

The request will be considered by planning committee members at a meeting on Monday (June 7).