Wales

Wrexham's Glyndwr University angry at housing plan rejection

Campus 2025 learning gateway Image copyright Wrexham Glyndwr University
Image caption The university wants to transform its main campus on Mold Road

A university has urged Wrexham council to support a £60m college revamp after key parts of the plan were rejected.

Glyndwr University won backing for seven out of nine planning applications related to its Campus 2025 project but lost bids for housing on surplus land.

Vice-chancellor Prof Maria Hinfelaar said it was "incredibly disappointing", claiming the sale of land for housing was needed to help fund the project.

Council chief Ian Bancroft said each proposal was assessed on its merits.

The university wanted to sell grazing land in New Broughton and Rhosnesni, complete with planning approval for 200 homes.

But Wrexham's planning committee rejected the housing proposals on Monday after highways officers warned of a "significant" increase in traffic and residents objected to the loss of open space.

Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Highways officers said building houses on surplus land would add to traffic queues

The seven projects that were given the go-ahead would enable the university to demolish and revamp learning facilities at the Plas Coch campus on Mold Road, as well an arts college on Regent Street.

More than 700 rooms for students and key workers would also be created, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

However, Prof Hinfelaar warned if the plans could not be funded, talented young people would be lost to north Wales.

"If our facilities are not good enough, then these students have plenty of alternative choices at universities the length and breadth of the UK," she said.

'Opportunity wasted'

The vice-chancellor added that the university was "well placed" to lodge an appeal against the refusal of the housing plans, and urged the council to think again.

"Put simply, it is unsatisfactory to grant approval of proposals that cost significant money and then turn down proposals which help to fund them - especially if these fit in well with wider plans for the area," she wrote.

"This should have been a win-win, but that opportunity has been wasted - for now."

Mr Bancroft said: "Whilst we fully appreciate the disappointment that Glyndwr University must be feeling over the refusal of their planning applications we have to be clear that each application was considered separately and determined on its own planning merits.

"We are very supportive of the Campus 2025 ambitions of Glyndwr University but we cannot let that support affect or influence the independent planning process that applicants have to go through."

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