Saturday, 18 October 2008

New flats plan for Hightown criticised

This is a press release on yesterday's decision to permit even more flats in the Rivulet Road area of Hightown.

A developer's plans to build 40 flats on land next to a flood-risk zone have come under fire from a Wrexham councillor.

Councillors visited the Rivulet Road site in Wrexham on Friday (17 October) to see for themselves where the flats would be built.

Cllr Marc Jones, the Plaid Cymru councillor for the Whitegate ward, said: "I'm opposed to this scheme for a number of reasons and so are the residents of the area. Approving these 40 flats would mean that 112 new homes had been built or had planning consent to be built on Rivulet Road. Coupled with existing homes and businesses, this makes for an extremely short and congested stretch of road and will increase the congestion coming onto Derby Road. I believe that, despite improvements, this junction is a dangerous one for motorists and pedestrians."

He said residents of nearby St John's Road in Hightown had also raised concerns that the three- and four-storey apartment blocks would overlook their gardens and he also raised their concerns about subsidence as the plans meant digging into the steep bank linking St John's Road to Rivulet Road.

Cllr Jones added: "My main concern is that the planned site is next to a flood-risk zone. The flats already built opposite were actually built on the flood risk zone and had to be built on a raised bank. Even if these new flats have the same treatment, it only moves the flood risk further down the river Gwenfro.

"I am very concerned that there doesn't appear to have been a Flood Consequence Assessment carried out as required by the Environment Agency and, for that reason alone, I felt the plan should have been rejected. Rivulet Road has had flooding problems in the past and we shouldn't as a council risk making matters worse by approving schemes that haven't carried out the necessary surveys."

Opposition to the scheme also came from Smithfield councillor Keith Gregory, whose ward includes part of Rivulet Road.

Wrexham Council's planning committee was split 5-5 over the scheme, but the chairman's casting vote means it will go ahead subject to the Environment Agency being happy with the flood assessment.

I understand the developer is now selling the land (with planning permission) to a local Wrexham businessman.

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