March 6, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Land within Alyn Waters Country Park earmarked for Traveller site

A COMMUNITY leader says he is confident that there is “no way back” for a controversial Gypsy and Traveller site earmarked for land within a country park.

It follows inspectors appointed to oversee Wrexham Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) appearing to confirm the removal of proposals to create pitches at Alyn Waters Country Park in Llay.

Lead inspectors Melissa Hall and Siân Worden have repeatedly criticised planning officers over a string of errors made in selecting the site for inclusion in the planning blueprint.

Letters released this week show they have now firmly instructed the council to delete it from the plan.

While the changes will be subject to a period of consultation, Llay councillor Rob Walsh said he was confident it would not be re-included.

He said: “I’m very happy that the inspectors have come to this conclusion.

“It’s been on the cards for a while and it just goes to show that the site selection process was flawed for picking the Llay site, when it clearly failed very early on due to being in a country park and having green wedge status.

“Even though it has to go out to consultation, there’s no way back from here.

“They’ve made it clear with their comments that the Llay site has now been deleted.”

More than 3,500 responses were received from the public during a consultation into the LDP, of which around 1,400 were in objection to the three proposed Traveller sites.

After previously being asked to re-run the selection process, officers removed one site in Hanmer but kept the others in Llay and Brymbo in the plan.

The re-inclusion of the land in Llay led to heavy criticism from the inspectors during a meeting in December.

The council’s chief planning officer Lawrence Isted tried to justify the site being chosen by submitting rebuttal evidence.

However, the inspectors have made their views on the matter clear in their latest series of letters.

They said: “Having given full consideration to your response to the concerns set out in our letter of 13th November 2020, we had not found significant further evidence which would advance the plan.

“Our outstanding concerns regarding the site selection process relate primarily to the lack of justification for the inclusion of a Gypsy and Traveller site in a green wedge and a country park, and with no confidence that there are no sequentially preferable sites available.

“Hence, the Llay allocation is deleted, the development management policy amended and a monitoring indicator introduced to trigger a response to any shortfall in provision during the plan period as matters arising changes.”

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