Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

Objections raised over plans to speed up Wrexham housing development

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

Objections have been voiced against the planned demolition of the last remaining Gatewen Colliery building to speed up progress on a major housing development. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Wrexham Council’s planning committee will make a decision next week on whether to approve enabling works which would allow Bellway Homes to press on with building 112 new homes on a site to the north of Gatewen Road in New Broughton. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The developer secured outline permission on appeal a couple of years ago but progress has since been stymied by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) targets to reduce river phosphate levels in special areas of conservation (SAC) across Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

These targets were implemented after concerns about developments across Wales causing an increase in phosphate concentrations – which can cause water pollution in rivers, such as the River Dee, which affects Wrexham. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

In a bid to make progress, Bellway Homes has applied for a raft of enabling works to take place to mitigate the issue. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

These range from the construction of site access to making safe a former reservoir and disused well which can be undertaken without having an impact on phosphate levels. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They also include the “demolition of a relic structure”, the last remaining Gatewen Colliery building on the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Broughton Community Council has issued a raft of issues with the plans ranging from tree removal, increased flooding risk and the potential loss of the remaining Gatewen Colliery building on the site. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It is understood that this was used as a store for explosives and the community council feels this is of significant historical interest, and is part of the local community’s heritage, that the building should be retained. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Adjoining ward member Gwenfro Cllr Nigel Williams (Ind) has also submitted some concerns, including about the Gatewen Colliery structure. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He is concerned its proposed demolition will leave no sign left of the colliery which he describes as “a landmark building which means a lot to local residents”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Williams also states that the site was approved for residential development by the Planning Inspector on the understanding that junction improvement works were to be carried out to the A483. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As the Welsh Government funding has been pulled for the improvements, this could cause extra stress on the existing junctions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Despite these concerns, Wrexham Council’s planning department has recommended the enabling works are given approval. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A report to councillors states: “The applicants are not able to commence development due to the on-going phosphorous issue, which currently prevents the council from discharging condition 15 in respect of foul drainage. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“On this basis, they are seeking planning permission to undertake a package of enabling works to prepare the site for development whilst the wider phosphates and foul drainage issues remain unresolved. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The application does not propose any development over and above that already benefitting from outline and reserved matters consent.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On the matter of the colliery structure, the report adds that a condition can be imposed that there will be no demolition until a programme of building recording and analysis, has been undertaken with an investigation submitted to and approved in writing by the council. The survey will be completed by a professional archaeological contractor. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The report adds: “Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) have advised that structures proposed for demolition within site form part of a munitions store related to the former colliery and are of at least local interest. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“CPAT have advised that a Level 2 Historic Building Survey should be completed prior to any works to the subject buildings taking place. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“No conditions were imposed on the extant planning permission, indeed in 2018 Cadw had no objections to the outline application and did not recommend any conditions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“However, given that CPAT have been made aware of additional information during the consideration of the current application, it would not be unreasonable to impose the suggested condition. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The vast majority of concerns expressed by the Community Council, the local member for the adjoining ward and within the public representations relate to the already approved residential development of the application site, and not the works proposed by this application. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Whilst the proposed works are intended to prepare the site for development, it is not possible to reconsider the principle of development or any detailed aspects of the already approved residential development.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillors will have the final say on the application when the planning committee meets on Monday (July 3). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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