Rejecting LDP key to halting major housing development claim campaigners
Plans by housing developer Redrow to build more than 1500 homes on farmland have been described as “trashing” the countryside by opponents of the project.
The development on the Lower Berse Farm site in Wrexham would also include a new primary school and water treatment works.
The planning application for the huge new housing estate has been submitted to Wrexham Council, even though its Local Development Plan (LDP) is yet to be accepted.
The LDP allocates the farmland off the Ruthin Road for housing, something that has prompted Wrexham councillors to reject its own plan twice. The existing Unitary Development Plan designates the land as green fields which would not allow the building of housing on the site.
The final decision on the LDP sits with the Welsh Government, which has so far refused to accept the council’s vote against the new plan.
Cllr Becca Martin, of Plaid Cymru, said: “As a group, Plaid Cymru councillors have said all along that voting for this Local Development Plan would give developers the green light to build in the countryside on all sides of Wrexham, increasing urban sprawl and putting added pressure on overstretched services and infrastructure.
“This planning application is seeking to take advantage of the draft plan, even though it’s not been accepted, and develop a housing estate on good agricultural land.
“Wrexham’s population is currently static and predicted to fall in coming years, our services are stretched to breaking point and nearby roads are already overloaded. This giant housing development will make matters worse.
“It’s vital that the Welsh Government listens to the people of Wrexham on this matter – they must rethink the LDP they’re seeking to impose on Wrexham rather than dance to the tune of large housing developers.”
Cllr Kate Wilkinson, who represents the Offa ward next to the proposed development, added: “Hundreds have signed a petition against this plan and residents are ready to fight this planning application all the way. We understand that the best way to do that is by stopping the LDP but we will use all tools at our disposal to make the case for building affordable houses on brownfield sites rather than trashing our countryside with executive housing.”
According to a planning statement 15 per cent of the development would be affordable housing and the proposed primary school would accommodate up to 420 pupils.
A petition against the mooted proposals was started in the summer, opposing the loss of green land, the potential increased pressure on the NHS and Wrexham’s infrastructure, and the prospect of the new water treatment facility being developed to accommodate the development.
The planning statement highlights the council’s lack of a Local Development Plan, that it’s Unitary Development Plan expired 12 years ago and that this site was included in the draft LDP which could yet be imposed by the Welsh Government.
It states: “It is clear that the council no longer consider it necessary for the application site to be designated either as green barrier or as a special landscape area, it would be illogical to resist development on the basis of policies that the council admits itself are no longer appropriate.
“The appropriateness of the application site for development has been considered by the LDP inspectors who have also concluded that the site is an appropriate site for development.
“This conclusion has had regard to all material considerations including housing need, the present green barrier and Special Landscape Area designations, ecology, heritage, agricultural land quality and access.”
Wrexham Council planners will make a decision on the proposals at a future date.
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