EXPANSION plans for a Wrexham car showroom have been approved amid fears that denying permission would lead to its closure.
Lindop Toyota in Bradley entered proposals in August last year to increase the size of its car park to cater for an increase in electric vehicle sales and install charging points.
The scheme was twiced recommended for refusal by planning officials from Wrexham Council because of the potential impact on an area of green barrier land.
However, councillors went against their advice after business owner Steve Hopewell previously warned it was likely to result in the firm closing, resulting in the loss of 30 jobs.
Speaking at a planning committee meeting held yesterday (Monday, 6 September), Penycae councillor John Phillips said members should support local businesses.
He said: “I pass this site most days of the week and it’s evident that space is at a premium.
“We want businesses to come to Wrexham and we want existing established businesses to flourish.
“We’re often told to take each application on its own merits, and I fear if we support the officer’s recommendation here this afternoon it will be a nail in the coffin for the business.
“The potential loss of 30 plus jobs are exceptional circumstances and I for one won’t be supporting the officer’s recommendation.”
The application was first considered by the committee at a meeting in March where they deferred their decision to allow Mr Hopewell to provide evidence that other sites had been explored.
While most members were supportive of the proposals, they were opposed by local councillor David Griffiths.
The independent politician, who lives close to the site, said residents had suffered parking problems as a result of the business.
He also challenged the company’s claim that refusal of the application would lead to its closure.
He said: “I respect everyone’s right to promote their own business, but I also respect everyone’s right to protect their home and private life.
“It should not be blighted by indiscriminate packing outside their homes, which is what has happened for many years, and is still happening.
“I have never before read an application that in my humble opinion gives an impression of what may be termed by some as possible intimidation.
“If my opinion is incorrect then I apologise immediately, but using the words of the applicant, they say this would be a very negative outcome for Wrexham, for Lindop employees and for Lindop customers.”
The plans were approved by eleven votes to four at the end of the debate.