WREXHAM’s largest housing estate will see 18 new apartments built after the council approved plans for former community centre land.
The authority’s planning committee gave the go-ahead to a three-storey development where the Kingsley Circle Community Centre once stood off Eaton Drive in Caia Park.
In the last few years the building has been demolished paving the way for these plans which along with the 18 apartments include 15 parking spaces.
It had been recommended for approval by officers who said the development would help improve the appearance of the site, although concerns had been raised about its scale compared to neighbouring properties and the potential for an increase in anti-social behaviour.
This was picked up at the meeting by ward member Cartrefle Cllr Ronnie Prince (non-aligned), adding that he supported the development of the site and was pleased that it is going to be 100 per cent affordable housing.
But he did have concerns about access to and from it, and anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Prince said: “The concerns I have, and that have been raised with me by local residents, is that they believe the apartments will be over-intrusive.
“The main concern is the access point which is behind the shops in Kingsley Circle, a badly-lit car park and I feel that this apartment block should have its own access point and would have made it far safer.
“In that area we’ve had numerous complaints about anti-social behaviour. I just wonder why we couldn’t have accessed this apartment block through Eaton Drive?”
Planning officer Matthew Phillips said improvements were planned to widen the site’s access and push the footway back slightly.
Llay Cllr Bryan Apsley (Lab) asked why no on-site public space was earmarked as part of the development.
Mr Phillips said space to the north of the site would be enhanced under planning obligations with a financial contribution from the developer.
Members voted unanimously in favour of the development, bringing to an end any uncertainty about the future of the site after the community centre was closed in 2014 during a round of Wrexham Council cuts.
At the time Wrexham Council had approached community councils to take over the running of community centres as part of an attempt to find savings adding up to £45 million.
Initially, Caia Park Environmental Group were keen to take on the centre while Wrexham University had explored the option of using the facility as a base from which to build its community youth development work.
But that takeover fell through in late 2014, with the university confirming that while it had examined the possibilities of taking on the centre, it had decided not to pursue the venture.
Caia Park Community Council looked at whether it could support community groups looking to keep both the Pentre Gwyn and Kingsley Circle Community Centres open but were unable to afford both.
Members opted to support the Pentre Gwyn Centre, while permission for demolition of the Kingsley Circle centre was granted in 2021.