Controversial plans for 51 new homes by Llay Royal British Legion rejected
Published: Monday, Jul 2nd, 2018 on the website 'Wrexham.com'
Plans to build 51 new homes in a village on the outskirts of Wrexham have been rejected.
\Wrexham Council’s planning committee had been recommended to grant outline permission for a housing development, 4,000 square foot retail unit and boxing club on land surrounding the Royal British Legion (RBL) club in Llay.
The ‘hybrid’ plans for the site on Watts Dyke in Llay were unveiled by The Royal British Legion in January 2017.
However, councillors chose to turn them down after hearing strong objections from residents and members of the armed forces community tonight.
They included concerns over the impact of the development on already overstretched schools and GP surgeries in the area.
There was also a dispute between the central RBL headquarters, which is behind the plans, and the Llay branch over whether the proposals could potentially lead to the social club closing its doors.
Major Donald Moore 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.
Plaid Cymru councillor Marc Jones branded the behaviour of the RBL towards its local branch as ‘shameful’ and backed the suggestion to reject the proposals.
Last year plans were approved on appeal to build 365 new homes on nearby Gresford Road by First Minister Carwyn Jones.
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.
Llay councillor Rob Walsh said patients at Llay Health Centre are currently left queuing out the door each morning in a bid to try and get an appointment.
He said: “Clearly this is a very contentious issue where there are many question marks over many things.
“We have had occasions already where children from Llay can’t get in to local schools due to over subscription.
“If you want to secure a GP appointment for a certain day, I’ve had to queue from quarter to eight in the morning and I’m now told it’s half past seven.
“That just goes to show the huge demand being place upon Llay Health Centre.
Speaking on behalf of the RBL, planning consultant Andy McMullen said the application would still leave the local branch with 50 parking spaces and it would be able to request more for major events from the owners of the convenience store, which is believed to be the Co-op.
He added that the organisation would be willing to make contributions towards paying for local infrastructure.
However, despite an eleventh hour bid by the RBL to remove reference to the suggested number of houses, councillors decided to reject the proposals.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter