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APPROVED: Extension of Wrexham Gypsy and Traveller site

APPROVED: Extension of Wrexham Gypsy and Traveller site

Heritage Way in Tanyfron, Image: LDRS

Plans to extend a Gypsy and Traveller site in Wrexham have been approved despite strong objections.

An application was presented to councillors yesterday (Monday, 6 September) in relation to a caravan site in the village of Tanyfron.

The site on Southsea Road already holds eight static and touring caravans and one mobile home.

Owner Andrew Cash wanted to add more land on an area to the south of the existing site.

Although the application did not include any additional caravan pitches, it attracted opposition from local community leaders, who claimed the site had already been developed too much.

Cllr Nigel Williams, who represents the neighbouring village of Southsea, said the appearance of the land had deteriorated since being used to hold caravans.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of Wrexham Council’s planning committee, he said: “This development before you today has been built on out-of-settlement green barrier land.

“This once beautiful small meadow had a pond going back as far as living memory and was surrounded by trees and horses grazing regularly.

“It was also used for the local village fetes but that has all gone.

“It is now tarmacked over and there is a large imposing bungalow visible for all to see.

“Let’s not forget this is green barrier land and it is down to us as councillors to preserve and protect these areas for our future generations. I urge you to decline this application.”

The council’s planning policies state that green barrier land should only be developed in exceptional circumstances.

However, the local authority’s chief planning officer said the proposals would have a limited impact.

Neighbouring councillors Paul Rogers and Beverley Parry-Jones were among those who opposed the scheme.

Cllr Parry-Jones said: “The fact is that what is being proposed is inappropriate development within the green barrier.

“Officers have acknowledged that the development does impact upon the openness of the green barrier land at site level.

“On that basis, I would like to propose this application is refused on the basis that this unnecessary extension is outside of settlement and does not maintain the openness of the green barrier.”

Responding to the concerns raised, planning officer Matthew Phillips said the extension did not represent a significant change to the site.

He said: “Everybody needs to remember what we’re actually considering here and we’re not considering whether the site should or should not be used as a Gypsy and Traveller site.

“There are no additional pitches proposed here and refusal of this application wouldn’t prevent the land subject to an earlier planning consent from continuing to be used.

“The impact of the plans doesn’t result in any additional impact upon the countryside, upon the green barrier or upon any neighbouring residents.”

A proposal to refuse permission for the plans was defeated by a single vote with nine members for and eight against the extension.

The application was later approved by a margin of nine votes to seven with one abstention.

Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter

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