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Inspectors formally ask Wrexham Council to consider removal of Llay Gypsy and Traveller site from development plan

Planning inspectors have formally asked Wrexham Council to consider removing a controversial Gypsy and Traveller site from a key development blueprint.

Siân Worden and Melissa Hall, who are examining the county borough’s Local Development Plan (LDP), have repeatedly raised criticism of the way land at Alyn Waters Country Park in Llay was put forward.

They have now formally written to the local authority to request the site’s deletion under what are known as matters arising changes (MACs) following a meeting with officers in December.

While the inspectors said the suggestion did not reflect their final decision, they added that including its removal would prevent the need for further delays to the process.

It comes after the council’s first attempt to gain approval for its LDP failed in 2012.

In their letter, they said: “As Miss Hall explained at the exploratory meeting into Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, we will not have the opportunity to properly consider the rebuttal document and appendices you submitted in advance of the meeting until mid-January.

“Until we have, we are unable to make a final decision on the way we will progress on this matter.

“You will be aware, however, that one option is to delete the Llay Gypsy and Traveller site and to rely on a revised development management policy, H5, supported by a monitoring trigger. Following the hearing concerning MACs a few weeks ago, you are probably well-advanced with a schedule of such on which to consult. Although we do not yet know how we will proceed on Gypsy and Traveller accommodation, it would be opportune to add the following to the MAC schedule and thus to consult on: the deletion of the Llay site; revised Policy H5 and its explanatory text; and the proposed monitoring trigger.”

In a further development, the inspectors revealed they were considering including an area of green land at the former Brymbo Steelworks site in the plan as part of the housing allocation, despite it originally being rejected.

They previously warned the future of the LDP could be in jeopardy after identifying a string of errors in the selection process for Gypsy and Traveller sites.

It was later thrown into further turmoil when council leader Mark Pritchard’s independent group withdrew their political support.

A meeting was held between officers and the inspectors in an attempt to find an alternative way forward in December, with a final decision on whether the LDP can be adopted expected at a later date.

Article originally appeared on The Leader.

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