Wrexham Industrial Estate £17m extension plans look set to be refused
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans for a large extension to Wrexham Industrial Estate look set to be refused despite claims it would create nearly 300 new jobs.
Proposals said to be worth £17m were submitted to Wrexham Council in April to develop approximately six hectares of land on Oak Road.
The council’s chief planning officer has raised doubts over the promised number of jobs and has pointed to concerns about the impact on wildlife.
The company behind the scheme wants to create an unspecified number of industrial units at the site, part of which was formerly used as a Royal Ordnance Factory.
Agents representing Cefn Park Developments Ltd said it would boost the area’s economy by creating up to 287 jobs, an estimated 200 of which would go to local people.
In a planning statement, they said: “The Oaks site in its entirety extends to an area of 22 hectares and is a brownfield previously developed site largely within the existing settlement boundary of Wrexham Industrial Estate.
“It benefits from being located at a central point in the estate with good strategic access to the network and is largely level and free of constraint; ready for development and regeneration.
“Interest has been expressed by a business park developer looking to acquire the freehold interest of the whole site.
“Importantly, these have been enquiries from owner occupiers including a food manufacturing business keen to locate to the borough.”
“The benefits of locating employment growth and having a strategic site of this scale, nature and location within the Wrexham Industrial Estate are not just logical but obvious.”
Proposals to develop a larger section of land under the company’s ownership were previously rejected by the council because of the impact on trees and great crested newts.
The firm said an area of around 17 hectares would be used under the latest plans to provide mitigation measures to lessen the effect on the site’s ecology and history.
A Royal Ordnance Factory was built on part of the plot during World War II, with some of the original buildings still in place.
The company stressed the structures would be unaffected by the application but a senior local authority official has recommended permission should be refused.
In a report, the council’s chief planning officer Lawrence Isted raised doubts over the promised number of jobs, as well as highlighting outstanding concerns regarding the impact on wildlife.
He said: “The application, by itself, does not demonstrate commitment in bringing the site forward for employment development.
“Whilst the applicant’s employment market study suggests that the site could create around 201 jobs, given the speculative nature of the scheme it is far from clear that this number of jobs would in fact be generated.
“The proposal would result in harm to the local wildlife site and result in unacceptable loss of trees therefore conflicting with policies.
“It is not considered that there is an overriding need for the development to sufficiently outweigh the concerns regarding these ecological and environmental impacts.”
The application will be considered by the council’s planning committee at a meeting on Monday, January 10.
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