Wrexham Council has rejected a planned development that promised to deliver badly needed affordable housing to the town. Councillors accused the developer, Mandale Group, of making misleading statements.
Despite strong planning support for the scheme, Wrexham Council has decided to remove the planning permission that had been granted on the Henblas Square project, which would have delivered 52 new apartments built over the deserted shopping precinct. Planning permission was granted for the one and two bedroom apartments nearly six months beforehand and the work began in November 2018.
The retail units were also planned for refurbishment, with all but one available with ‘attractive rents and terms’. The other unit was reportedly already let.
Mandale Group attempted to reduce their contribution towards the cost of affordable housing elsewhere in the county from £300,000 to below £29,000, claiming that the original requirement would have made the scheme unprofitable. A new viability plan showed Mandale’s profits from the revised scheme would be £250,000.
The amendment was supported by planning officers, who said that the profit made by developers was an important consideration in the long term. However, Wrexham Councillors said the company’s original bid had been ‘naive’ and claimed the council was being ‘blackmailed’ having been ‘misled into granting planning permission’.
Planners have said that an appeal to the Welsh planning inspectorate would likely overturn the decision, should the builder appeal, but there are now fears that the decision will deter other companies from working on badly needed regeneration developments in Wrexham, which one councillor described as ‘a mess’.
Building work at the site has already begun so the developer must now decide whether to continue with the work, even though it no longer has planning permission.
A Chartered Surveyor will make sure planning permission and building regulations have been observed. Following a homebuyers or building survey, you will receive a survey report detailing the condition and structural elements of the building.