Plans to create 20 apartments in Wrexham are due to be decided next week following a warning it could harm the viability of a city centre shop.

Proposals to build accommodation on the upper floors of a building on Regent Street were originally meant to be considered last month.

However, the decision was placed on hold after concerns were raised over how it would impact on the Waterstones book shop on the ground floor.

The application by the JSM Company Group would see one and two-bedroom apartments created on the first and second floors of the building, which was previously home to the UnDegUn art gallery and a JJB Sports store.

Members of Wrexham Council's planning committee are due to examine the plans on Monday (April 8, 2024) and have again been recommended to approve the scheme.

It comes despite a representative for Waterstones claiming it could put the shop's future at risk.

In their representations, they said: “The store on the ground floor sits within a prominent unit on Regent Street and is an important part of Wrexham’s town centre retail offering.

“Part of the second floor is also occupied by Waterstones and is used as staff facilities and backroom storage.

“The application proposes to replace the Waterstones second floor backroom area with apartments.

“This will lead to the loss of a key part of tenant’s store and will adversely affect its future viability.”

They added: “If Waterstones had to reconfigure the ground floor to accommodate the loss of the second floor, this would mean a reduction in the size of stock and range of books they could sell.

“The costs associated with any such reconfiguration would also not be viable.”

The Leader:

Community leaders previously voiced fears that residents living in the apartments could be impacted by noise from the Rockin’ Chair music venue, which backs onto the site.

Members of Offa Community Council also questioned a lack of bin storage facilities and car parking spaces included within the application.

However, the council’s chief planning officer has backed the scheme for approval as he said the issue regarding Waterstones was not relevant for the committee to consider.

In a report, David Fitzsimon said: “The matters raised by the tenant are private matters between them and the landlord.

“Policy states that retail will be regarded as the most appropriate ground floor use within primary shopping streets.


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“The policy aims to protect the viability, viability and attractiveness of primary shopping streets, however it offers no specific protection to retail uses occupying upper floors of buildings.

“The application does not propose the change the use of the ground floor of the building so would not result in the loss of retail frontage.”