The Planned Development of 51 (?) Houses and a Shop on the Llay RBL Club Site

How did this all start? 

Well, the club was concerned about the state of the flat roof which needed replacing and we couldn't afford. We decided to apply for a very substantial grant from an organisation called WREN (they are an organisation which funds community projects in the vicinity of Waste Reclamation sites). The grant was approved subject to an extension on the lease of the land on which the Club sits. The RBL (London) would only give us the new lease provided we reduced the footprint of the leased land to exclude the car park and the other bits they now want to sell. The Club was faced with a stark choice, give up this land or risk the roof failing and the Club folding. We decided to go with the least worst option to take the new lease and keep the Club viable.

Was that RBL's finest hour? Was it a touch of blackmail? Make up your own mind!

It should also be noted that although the land was purchased using money raised exclusively by the people, mostly ex-service, of Llay, it is the Royal British Legion (in the London HQ) who were asked to handle the conveyance following the purchase and consequently they hold the deeds and own the land. It was they who decided to sell the land, against the wishes of the Llay Branch and Club, and submitted the planning application to the Council.

Neither the local Llay RBL Banch nor Club will receive any proceeds from the sale of this land if the development were to take place.

A Wrexham Council Planning Committee Meeting was held Monday 2nd July 2018 to discuss the proposed development of most of the land surrounding the club and the Councillors chose to turn down the Outline Planning application despite a recommendation by Council officers to approve it.


Councillors chose to turn them (RBL HQ) down after hearing strong objections from residents and members of the armed forces community.

They included concerns over the impact of the development on already overstretched schools and GP surgeries in the area.

Local representatives raised fears that additional houses would impact on the availability of GP appointments, as well as the number of places for children at local schools.


Major Donald Moore, now retired, said the land was paid for by the ex-services community and condemned the London-based organisation’s decision.

He said: “The ex-services community and families raise millions for the legion.

“The legion has a large property portfolio at no cost and is selling them off when clubs close.

“The Armed Forces Covenant was signed in 2017 and it says the armed forces must be treated fairly.

“This application will have an adverse effect on the Llay ex-services community.”

He added that the club also served as a memorial place and the application would jeopardise its ability to hold remembrance events.


It is fair to say that Don Moore, who has ceaselessly campaigned for the rights of the ex-service community, disagrees with some of the actions of RBL HQ as does Plaid Cymru councillor Marc Jones who branded the behaviour of the RBL towards its local branch as ‘shameful’ and backed the suggestion to reject the proposals.


(ALL as reported on '' 02 July 2018)




Our current information (as at the middle of October 2018) is that the RBL (London) intends to appeal the decision of the Council to refuse planning permission and may also submit a fresh application.  As yet there has been no notice of this fresh application listed on the Council's listed "New Applications".




The Royal British Legion have submitted a further planning application to the Council. It would appear that this is an "outline planning application" and the Council's website contains no information about the number of houses but it does indicate a 4000 sq foot retail unit.

This is the entry on the Council website -


"Mixed Use Hybrid Development Comprising Residential Development (Outline), A 4,000 Sq Ft Retail Unit (Outline), A Boxing Club (Outline), A Car Park (Full), Details Of Access (All Other Matters Reserved) And Associated Works"


UPDATE  from the general meeting on 26 November 2018


Donald Moore was again very eloquent giving his presentation to the audience and it was agreed that an action committee would be formed from the interested organisations, Branch and Club committees, Community Council and others, to progress the aims DM set out. The overall aim is to have the whole village and those nearby back the plan to retain the grounds a memorial garden rather than a housing development, thereby persuading the RBL to withdraw its current plan. With good publicity the ex-service community as a whole hopefully will also be involved.

More details will be made available as they become known.

Latest and worst update from the Wrexham BC Planning Meeting 4th March 2019

At the above WBC Planning meeting the second application by the (London) RBL was approved by the council. This was after the Chairman of the Planning Committee in addition to council officers warned(or perhaps threatened is a better description) the councillors that refusal would lead to an appeal by the RBL and possible compensation costs being awarded against the council. All the speakers against the application quoted the dire and unacceptable state of health care provision in the village and surrounding affected areas (Rossett, Gresford etc.). Despite excellent and substantial submissions from Bryan Apsley (our club secretary) and Rob Walsh, both local councillors, demonstrating the desperately poor health care facilities the view was that the Health Board (Betsi Thingy) has the resposibility to provide adequate health provision to the area and with BCUHB (thingy) stating it had no objection to the development all grounds for planning refusal were removed under planning regulations.

It obviously does not matter that their decision to allow the build of more houses, and don't forget the Gresford Road development of 350 houses and those on the old rec, will make an already desperate situation even worse. Perhaps they should come and live here. The council, officers and elected members, should show some 'bottle', rather than capitulate to threats, and stand against any and all that is clearly detrimental to the welfare of the people who live here. Hiding behind 'material planning considerations' is an excuse and planning laws are there to protect communities, not destroy them. 

So - the RBL (London) will grab the profit from the sale of this land and the people of Llay and surrounding villages will have no benefit from the land that they bought without any assistance from RBL London. Don't forget that neither the Llay Branch nor Club will receive one penny from the sale of this land. And I thought the Royal British Legion was a charity.

If you want to follow the whole debate from the planning meeting the Council website will have a webcast showing for some time.

Here's the site address

Disgraceful comment made by Michael Morris, Chair of Planning Committee.

At the above planning meeting Councillor Morris is heard (he left his microphone switched on) to call Major Donald Moore "a bloody old fool". Anyone who knows Don Moore will tell you that he is articulate, respected and very intelligent. The original podcast made public by the council confirms the comments were indeed made but these have now been deleted from the on-line record.

Is this an example of the Council officers and/or certain Councillors trying to keep this from the public (Holt voters please take note) and protect 'one of their own'????

Well Mr Morris' reputation was certainly in tatters in 2003 and if you want to know why, just Google 'Michael Morris Wrexham'. 

As at December 2019

Haven't yet seen any detailed planning application to build the houses but the Co-op is pushing ahead with plans to build a store and we anticipate that work will start fairly early in the 2020 new year. The shop will be sited on the corner of the Llay New Road and Watts Dyke. The club has not yet received formal notification that building work will commence.

As at March 2020

On 10 March, A planning application was submitted to build a retail store on site. You will recall that this will be (we believe) a Co-op store sited on the corner of Llay New Road and Watts Dyke. We await the outcome of the application but there is little doubt that this will be granted. The only real issue is when the building construction and work on the access roads will start. Lets hope this will not cause as much angst as the development on Gresford Road. The link to view the application is on the Council's planning website, just search on the 10 March date. 

May 2021

Building work  on the club grounds is expected to start around the 3rd week in July. This will include initial work by Watkin Jones and also some work on the Co-op. More information will follow as it becomes available. It does look as though the Co-op will not be open until Jan/Feb 2022 and that provided all goes to plan.


The Club have held a couple of meetings with representatives of Watkin Jones (housing developers) and Thistlewood (Co-op) and the following timescales may be of interest to both club members and Llay residents. The following are extracts from the minutes of the latest meeting.

Proposed dates for the works were discussed: -

  • Works to RBL car park – previously reported early September 21, due to SAB delay, now targeting 4 October 21. With a completion date planned for end of December 21.
  • War memorial to be relocated by end of September 21, now to be relocated following Remembrance Day (Works to be coordinated with Charlie Wright)
  • Form new access and commence infrastructure works to new development from Watts Dyke Road October 21.
  • All above dates subject to successful receipt of Planning approval for the scheme by mid July 21. This was received on 26 July and all Planning Conditions relating to the car park were also discharged.
  • Watkin Jones confirmed that there would be regular updates to the local community via a newsletter for the events being undertaken on site and the project progress.

Coop project timeline

  • 24 week proposed build with completion due December 21 Subject to Planning approval of drainage conditions (this date was originally planned and has been delayed by planning approval difficulties).
  • It was noted that SAB approval had been obtained, the final approval needed was the S278 to commence on site, no start date could be confirmed, however once known this was to be issued so as to coordinate the works.

Note - SAB relates to drainage on site 

           S278 relates to necessary changes to the roads/highways

January 2023

Our information (January 2023) is that the Co-op will not now be building a shop on the legion site. They say this is partly due to restructuring at Co-op and how they operate. The Aldi store would also appear to be a factor in their decision. That's disappointing for this side of the village.

Watkin Jones remain committed to the building of the planned houses as do their partnered Housing Association who wish to deliver affordable homes. There is a delay to the start of the build due to concerns (by the Welsh Gov.) over phosphate levels in the water levels. Therefore it looks like the car park will be ours to use for the forseeable future and we expect there will be no issues at the cenotaph on Rememberance Sunday this year.

October 2023

Watkin Jones are no longer the developer of the new houses and they have passed the baton to S&G Estates who will build the houses in accordance with the approved plan. As well as the extensive loss of car parking spaces, the club is concerned about what will happen with the land originally earmarked for the Co-Op. Whatever occurs in the future, we assume that it will be dependant on planning approval by Wrexham Council so we shall have to wait and see. 

It looks like work will start early in the new year.

January 2024

Indications are that SG Estates will commence work on site late February. The current conditions are that the initial work will involve moving the cenotaph so that it falls within the defined area of the club and installing our allocated, but substantially reduced, car parking spaces. 

February 2024

Officers of the Club met with SG Estates on 1st Feb to discuss how they would commence the build later this month and we were given assurances that disruption to the club would be kept to a minimum. The first steps will involve moving the cenotaph to within the Club's grounds and building an access road between the car park and Watts Dyke.

They will also provide a colour plan of the site showing the work to be undertaken at the first stage. This will be displayed on the notice board in the club foyer when it becomes available.

The other news is that S&G have also purchased the land where the Co-op was to be built. This probably means that more houses will be built on that land (adjacent to Llay New Rd) subject to approval (I assume) by the Wrexham Council planning committee. 

 19 February 2024 and later

First phase is now on-going - trees have been felled, some hedges removed and a boundary fence built at the country park end and Watts Dyke end of the car park. 

The removal of part of the hedge on Llay New Road is to do with the water main and does not mean that there will be an entry road opposite Pentre Street. Access to the whole site will be from Watt's Dyke only.