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Application to create 34 new homes in Cefn Mawr backed for approval

PLANS for an affordable housing development have been recommended to go ahead, despite concerns over its proximity to a former chemicals factory.

An application to create 34 new homes in Cefn Mawr, on the outskirts of Wrexham, was submitted by Wales and West Housing in August last year.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has advised Wrexham Council against granting permission for the scheme as the site at Wrenbury Court is located approximately a mile away from the old Flexsys Rubber Chemicals plant.

Officials said the guidance had been given as the facility still has consent to hold hazardous substances.

However, as the factory is no longer in use, the local authority’s chief planning officer said he did not believe it would pose a risk to residents.

In a report to councillors, Lawrence Isted said: “Whilst the HSE has advised against granting planning permission, I am mindful of the planning history of a number of sites around Cefn Mawr and Acrefair where the council have granted schemes of residential development, this site included.

“Whilst the Flexsys site does still benefit from a hazardous substances consent, there is no clear intention of the site being reoccupied for a use that would benefit from that consent, and the council is aware of the landowner’s intentions to seek a mixed used remediation and regeneration of the site.

“Large scale housing developments have been approved previously where the HSE has advised against granting planning permission, namely the former Air Products site and the former scout hut site on Llangollen Road.

“In those cases, when the council notified the HSE of their intention to grant planning permission, no further objection was forthcoming from the HSE, and planning permission was granted.

“As with those development sites, I do not consider there to be an existing or imminent risk to the future occupiers of this proposed development, and granting planning permission would be consistent with the approach taken for other proposals in the locality.”

Permission was previously granted to a different company to construct 20 properties at the site, but only one house has been built since approval was given in 2007.

Mr Isted backed the latest plans as he said the 34 affordable houses would far exceed the nine properties below market value that would normally be required for a scheme of its size.

If councillors agree to go against the HSE’s advice, the executive will have 21 days to decide whether to call the application in to be considered by the Welsh Government.

The council’s planning committee will hold a virtual meeting to look at the proposals on Monday (March 1, 2021).

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