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Appeal launched over refusal of 600 new homes plans in Wrexham

Barratt Homes and Bloor Homes previously entered a bid to create a major housing development on land off Holt Road, Wrexham (Pic: Google)

COUNCILLORS in Wrexham have been asked to consider withdrawing their objections to controversial plans for 600 new homes.

Permission for the major development on land off Holt Road was rejected by Wrexham Council’s planning committee in July 2020 amid concerns over the impact on roads, schools and GP surgeries.

Housing companies Barratt and Bloor Homes, which are behind the scheme, launched an appeal against the decision in May the following year as they said the proposals were crucial to meet a local need for housing.

The appeal now finally looks set to be examined by an inspector from Planning and Environment Decisions Wales.

Ahead of the crunch decision, planning committee members are being requested by officers from the local authority to revoke their opposition.

It follows a number of recent events, including the approval of Wrexham’s Local Development Plan, in which the proposals are part of a key strategic site for housing.

Chief planning officer David Fitzsimon said in a report going to councillors next week that the council was no longer in a position to be able to defend the reasons for refusing the application.

He said: “There have been significant changes in circumstance since the planning application was refused in July 2020 which would have a significant impact on the ability of the council to defend the appeal.

“The site lay outside of the settlement limit for Wrexham and was situated in a green barrier as defined in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP).

“However, the site is located within the settlement limit and is allocated for residential development in the LDP, forming part of the key strategic site allocation.

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“There is therefore no longer any policy objection in principle to the development.”

Picture shows the new, revised plans submitted to Wrexham Council for 600 houses on land off Holt Road (Pic: Planning document)

The planning committee voted almost unanimously to dismiss the proposals when they were first considered.

It followed Rhosnesni councillor Mike Davies highlighting that local GP practices were struggling to cope with the number of patients on their books.

The Welsh Government’s rural affairs department objected because of the loss of agricultural land.

However, Mr Fitzsimon said those issues had also been addressed since 2020.

He said: “Following the receipt of the LDP inspectors’ report, the Department for Climate Change were asked for an updated consultation response to the application. The department confirmed they raise no objection to the development.

“The health board were asked to confirm their current position in relation to this development proposal in October 2023.

“The health board advised that they did not intend to object. They also did not advance any evidence to demonstrate that financial contributions are necessary to fund additional physical capacity in the primary care sector.”

It was initially expected that the appeal would be decided by the planning inspector following an inquiry being held.

But Mr Fitzsimon said it could now be considered through either written representations or an informal hearing, with submissions required by April 24, 2024.

Councillors will be asked to discuss whether to withdraw their objections at a planning meeting at Wrexham’s Guildhall on Monday (April 8, 2024).