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Wrexham’s specialist needs education facilities to be relocated

The unit at Ellice Way, Wrexham, where an education services provider is looking to move to (Pic: Wrexham Council planning documents)

AN EDUCATION service for youngsters with specialist needs is to relocate to a new space on the edge of Wrexham city centre.

Wrexham Council’s planning department has approved an application for the change of use of a unit on Ellice Way at the city’s Yale Business Park, meaning that these education and training facilities will remain in the area.

The application was made by Aspris Children’s Services which supports vulnerable children and those with autism, learning difficulties, social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Currently they provide education from two sites in Wrexham, at King Street in the city centre and a site in Rhosddu.

By altering the use of the office space at Unit G at Ellice Way it can be used for education purposes, which includes an additional student training kitchen/café.

The development will see a new entrance door and canopy to the south-east, as well as the installation of a covered cycle shelter.

Permission for all aspects of the plans has been granted subject to conditions which include installing safety barriers shall in a scheme to be submitted to and approved by the council’s planning department.

A supporting statement produced by Alder King planning consultants on behalf of the applicant outlined the plans: “Aspris runs independent special schools and colleges and its proposal for Ellice Way is to provide an education facility for day pupils only.

“The applicant currently provides its education from two buildings in Wrexham, at King Street and Ty Dewi Sant.

“The desire for some time has to be to bring the students together under one roof to better meet the needs of young people and provide sufficient space for the students.

“In particular, there is a need for multiple rooms to provide the education setting required, complemented by therapy, sensory and quiet rooms.

“The two existing buildings simply do not have the space to meet these needs. In seeking to relocate to a single building, it is important to the applicant and its students to remain within the town to ensure a continuity of education for the students.”

The applicants focused their search for a new premises to within the Wrexham city centre area.

More recently the building has been occupied by Plastipak, a global packaging and recycling business, but as working practices for administrative staff have changed since the pandemic, the company decided the unit was too large for their needs.

The supporting statement submitted with the successful application added: “The existing provision already has a registered capacity of up to 50 students between the ages of 16-25 and this would remain the case.

“Students would have social emotional and mental health needs, and/or autistic spectrum conditions, and associated conditions.

“While the site will registered for up to 50 students, in practice it would be unlikely to have all students on the site at any one time, as students would also engage in off-site activities and learning and some would not attend on a five-day a week basis in any case.

“It is anticipated that the number of staff on site at any one time would be no more than 32, and generally fewer.

“Aspris provides specialist education which has students as their focus. They provide bespoke educational models and a project-based learning curriculum to address the requirements of individual pupils to help them attain their goals.

“The learning environments provided are highly effective in supporting students who have been unable to engage in mainstream education. The site itself provides ideal space to meet the needs of students and importantly allows them to remain within the town with which they are familiar.

“The proposed change of use of the building will facilitate the co-location of Aspris’ two current facilities in an accessible and modern premises.”

Permission has now been granted via a delegated decision signed off by Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer David Fitzsimon.