by Rory Sheehan
A FORMER village police station would be transformed into a children’s nursery if council planners give new proposals the green light.
At a meeting of Wrexham Council’s planning committee next week, members will decide on an application to change the use of the former police station on Chester Road in Gresford.
Earlier this year, a previous application for the development was turned down on appeal by the Welsh Government’s planning inspector due to highways concerns, supporting the council’s original refusal.
The police station was closed in July 2020 as it was being used less frequently by officers and costing North Wales Police £12,000 a year to maintain.
It was later put on the market for almost £230,000 to generate funds to invest in other buildings owned by the region’s police force.
The report for this application, which councillors will consider on Monday, states the development would create nursery spaces for 24 children aged up to 18 months, with eight members of staff, a reduction in the numbers proposed in the previous rejected application.
The report states: “Ten parking spaces would be created to the front of the property with a central access point onto Chester Road. No external or internal alterations are proposed to the premises.
“The garage to the rear of the property would be used for storage and the outdoor space to the rear of the property will be made into a sensory garden with equipment to support physical development.”
Wrexham Council’s highways officer is supportive of the revised plan subject to conditions with staff car sharing being suggested as a way to alleviate concerns.
The application has received support from local residents, in feedback sent to Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton, who view it as a good “utilisation” of an empty building, and a “positive step for Gresford” as the village currently has no nursery.
Feedback sent to Wrexham Council’s planning department by neighbours has also been supportive with the following comments submitted:
“Wonderful use of an empty building.”
“Bringing more jobs into a location which doesn’t require use of a car given the regular bus service.”
“The site could support wider and more equitable access for all to childcare in the centre of the village.
Council planning officers have recommended that the proposal be given the green light subject to conditions, stating: “The proposal would bring back into use a prominent derelict building within a residential area.
“The use would provide an adequate level of parking to minimise disruption within the locality, and together with a car parking management plan and newly created access point will minimise issues of highway safety for both pedestrians and vehicles.”
Wrexham Council’s planning committee will make their decision when they meet on Monday (October 3).