St Giles Parish Church in Wrexham c Leon S on Unsplash

Wrexham's Local Development Plan saga continues. Credit: Leon S on Unsplash

Date set for judicial review of Wrexham local plan refusal

Details of the repercussions for Wrexham County Council’s rejection of its own planning framework, which had secured Welsh government approval, have been few and far between – but now we know when a high court hearing will begin.

It is understood that a group of developers are taking the local authority to court to force it to accept the Local Development Plan. The judicial review of the decision is set to commence on 29 November, according to a discussion between councillors during Monday’s planning committee meeting.

The upcoming LDP hearing was mentioned as a reason to defer a discussion on SG Estates’ application to build 92 homes on land located within the Green Barrier in Rhosrobin.

The land is only designated as Green Barrier in the Unitary Development Plan – which expired in 2011 and is based on data that is more than 20 years old.

In the draft LDP, it is reserved for residential development.

Before the application could be examined, planning committee chair Cllr Mike Morris introduced the idea of deferring it automatically. Morris cited the fact that the status of the LDP is up in the air during the judicial review process and that the planning officer report, which encouraged the passing of the application, relied heavily on the LDP in its reasoning.

“We should defer this application until the outcome of the judicial review is known,” Morris told councillors. Others agreed, with Cllr Dana Davies adding that the hearing of the judicial review was on 29 November.

Wrexham County Council had voted to reject the LDP in April and reaffirmed its position in June. At the time, councillors argued that the LDP did not have a sufficient affordable homes provision, was based on exaggerated population projections, and that there was not sufficient infrastructure to provide for a large increase of housing. The LDP, it is worth noting, allocated space in the county for more than 8,000 homes to be built.

In both instances of the rejection of the LDP the votes were tight – 27 to 23 in April and 30 to 24 in June.

In June, the cost of a judicial review was estimated to be between £50,000 and £100,000, according to a county council report. That report added that at the conclusion of the court case the local authority would likely be forced to accept the LDP.

Those interested in learning more about SG Estates’ plans for 92 homes can search application reference number P/2021 /1057 on Wrexham County Council’s planning portal.

Your Comments

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I’ve always defended the principle of democratic oversight of planning but the actions of Wrexham councillors is sorely testing my resolve. It is one thing to vote to your mandate but there is also collective responsibility and perhaps now government should be considering some powers to sanction individual councillors for bad decision making which this undoubtedly is.

By Anonymous

Planning is so broken and UK plc is a laughing stock for inward investment . Too many councils deferring and reviewing LDPs costing council taxpayers and taxpayers more for prevarication and procrastination whilst economic growth dwindles and slips away .

By Kay Osrains

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