In a dramatic vote, Wrecsam’s planning committee has tonight (Monday, 6 December) decided not to grant planning permission for another 150 homes on the old Brymbo steelworks. Councillors voted 7-5 to reject the plan.The application by Brymbo Developments Ltd was a re-hash of a previous planning permission from 2006 and would have meant more than 750 houses had been granted permission on the site.
The company argued that the development was needed on the site, a green field next to the Brymbo Sports and Social Club, to pay for the spine road through the steelworks. But a confidential report, outlining the financial situation, was not available for councillors on the night.
Opposition was led by Plaid councillors Marc Jones and Carrie Harper, who argued that the development was against the council’s own planning policies.
Brymbo Community Council was also fiercely opposed to the development, describing the planning application as “blackmail” because the company said it had to build the houses to be able to afford the spine road.
Cllr Marc Jones said he was very sorry that the people of Brymbo and Tanyfron had had to put up with the lack of progress on the site for 20 years since the steelworks closed in 1990. He said that BDL had an opportunity to seal the deal back in 2006, when they failed to provide the necessary assurances for the council that – in exchange for building the houses – they would also build the road.
He added that back in 2006 the company was also offering to develop and safeguard the site’s important heritage area but that, in this planning application, that promise had been abandoned.
Cllr Carrie Harper emphasised the over-development of the site already – the new housing has effectively doubled the size of Tanyfron.
She added: “I am stunned that this application has even come to us tonight as it breaches so many of our local planning policies and even more bemused as to why planning officers are recommending approval. The whole thing needs investigating.”
Despite claims by local Tory councillor Paul Rogers that the village was behind the application, the only local comments were all opposed to the scheme.
Cllr Marc Jones said: “Local villagers are obviously fed up with being spun a line by the developers and it was right that the planning committee reflected that strength of feeling and ensured that the council stuck to its own policies.”
He said BDL now had a responsibility to fully develop the site as promised more than a decade ago – by providing the road to link Brymbo and Tanyfron, the proposed new school and a new shopping centre.