The Planned Development of 51 (?) Houses and a Shop on the Llay RBL Club Site
How did this all start?
Well, the club was concerned about the state of the flat roof which needed replacing and we couldn't afford. We decided to apply for a very substantial grant from an organisation called WREN (they are an organisation which funds community projects in the vicinity of Waste Reclamation sites). The grant was approved subject to an extension on the lease of the land on which the Club sits. The RBL (London) would only give us the new lease provided we reduced the footprint of the leased land to exclude the car park and the other bits they now want to sell. The Club was faced with a stark choice, give up this land or risk the roof failing and the Club folding. We decided to go with the least worst option to take the new lease and keep the Club viable.
Was that RBL's finest hour? Was it a touch of blackmail? Make up your own mind!
It should also be noted that although the land was purchased using money raised exclusively by the people, mostly ex-service, of Llay, it is the Royal British Legion (in the London HQ) who were asked to handle the conveyance following the purchase and consequently they hold the deeds and own the land. It was they who decided to sell the land, against the wishes of the Llay Branch and Club, and submitted the planning application to the Council.
Neither the local Llay RBL Banch nor Club will receive any proceeds from the sale of this land if the development were to take place.
A Wrexham Council Planning Committee Meeting was held Monday 2nd July 2018 to discuss the proposed development of most of the land surrounding the club and the Councillors chose to turn down the Outline Planning application despite a recommendation by Council officers to approve it.
Councillors chose to turn them (RBL HQ) down after hearing strong objections from residents and members of the armed forces community.
They included concerns over the impact of the development on already overstretched schools and GP surgeries in the area.
Local representatives raised fears that additional houses would impact on the availability of GP appointments, as well as the number of places for children at local schools.
Major Donald Moore, now retired, said the land was paid for by the ex-services community and condemned the London-based organisation’s decision.
He said: “The ex-services community and families raise millions for the legion.
“The legion has a large property portfolio at no cost and is selling them off when clubs close.
“The Armed Forces Covenant was signed in 2017 and it says the armed forces must be treated fairly.
“This application will have an adverse effect on the Llay ex-services community.”
He added that the club also served as a memorial place and the application would jeopardise its ability to hold remembrance events.
It is fair to say that Don Moore, who has ceaselessly campaigned for the rights of the ex-service community, disagrees with some of the actions of RBL HQ as does Plaid Cymru councillor Marc Jones who branded the behaviour of the RBL towards its local branch as ‘shameful’ and backed the suggestion to reject the proposals.
(ALL as reported on 'Wrexham.com' 02 July 2018)
Our current information (as at the middle of October 2018) is that the RBL (London) intends to appeal the decision of the Council to refuse planning permission and may also submit a fresh application. As yet there has been no notice of this fresh application listed on the Council's listed "New Applications".
UPDATE !! ON 12 NOVEMBER 2018
The Royal British Legion have submitted a further planning application to the Council. It would appear that this is an "outline planning application" and the Council's website contains no information about the number of houses but it does indicate a 4000 sq foot retail unit.
This is the entry on the Council website -
"Mixed Use Hybrid Development Comprising Residential Development (Outline), A 4,000 Sq Ft Retail Unit (Outline), A Boxing Club (Outline), A Car Park (Full), Details Of Access (All Other Matters Reserved) And Associated Works"
UPDATE from the general meeting on 26 November 2018
Donald Moore was again very eloquent giving his presentation to the audience and it was agreed that an action committee would be formed from the interested organisations, Branch and Club committees, Community Council and others, to progress the aims DM set out. The overall aim is to have the whole village and those nearby back the plan to retain the grounds a memorial garden rather than a housing development, thereby persuading the RBL to withdraw its current plan. With good publicity the ex-service community as a whole hopefully will also be involved.
More details will be made available as they become known.
Latest and worst update from the Wrexham BC Planning Meeting 4th March 2019
At the above WBC Planning meeting the second application by the (London) RBL was approved by the council. This was after the Chairman of the Planning Committee in addition to council officers warned(or perhaps threatened is a better description) the councillors that refusal would lead to an appeal by the RBL and possible compensation costs being awarded against the council. All the speakers against the application quoted the dire and unacceptable state of health care provision in the village and surrounding affected areas (Rossett, Gresford etc.). Despite excellent and substantial submissions from Bryan Apsley (our club secretary) and Rob Walsh, both local councillors, demonstrating the desperately poor health care facilities the view was that the Health Board (Betsi Thingy) has the resposibility to provide adequate health provision to the area and with BCUHB (thingy) stating it had no objection to the development all grounds for planning refusal were removed under planning regulations.
It obviously does not matter that their decision to allow the build of more houses, and don't forget the Gresford Road development of 350 houses and those on the old rec, will make an already desperate situation even worse. Perhaps they should come and live here. The council, officers and elected members, should show some 'bottle', rather than capitulate to threats, and stand against any and all that is clearly detrimental to the welfare of the people who live here. Hiding behind 'material planning considerations' is an excuse and planning laws are there to protect communities, not destroy them.
So - the RBL (London) will grab the profit from the sale of this land and the people of Llay and surrounding villages will have no benefit from the land that they bought without any assistance from RBL London. Don't forget that neither the Llay Branch nor Club will receive one penny from the sale of this land. And I thought the Royal British Legion was a charity.
If you want to follow the whole debate from the planning meeting the Council website will have a webcast showing for some time.
Here's the site address www.wrexham.gov.uk/webcasting.
Disgraceful comment made by Michael Morris, Chair of Planning Committee.
At the above planning meeting Councillor Morris is heard (he left his microphone switched on) to call Major Donald Moore "a bloody old fool". Anyone who knows Don Moore will tell you that he is articulate, respected and very intelligent. The original podcast made public by the council confirms the comments were indeed made but these have now been deleted from the on-line record.
Is this an example of the Council officers and/or certain Councillors trying to keep this from the public (Holt voters please take note) and protect 'one of their own'????
Well Mr Morris' reputation was certainly in tatters in 2003 and if you want to know why, just Google 'Michael Morris Wrexham'.
As at December 2019
Haven't yet seen any detailed planning application to build the houses but the Co-op is pushing ahead with plans to build a store and we anticipate that work will start fairly early in the 2020 new year. The shop will be sited on the corner of the Llay New Road and Watts Dyke. The club has not yet received formal notification that building work will commence.
As at March 2020
On 10 March, A planning application was submitted to build a retail store on site. You will recall that this will be (we believe) a Co-op store sited on the corner of Llay New Road and Watts Dyke. We await the outcome of the application but there is little doubt that this will be granted. The only real issue is when the building construction and work on the access roads will start. Lets hope this will not cause as much angst as the development on Gresford Road. The link to view the application is on the Council's planning website, just search on the 10 March date.
Building work on the club grounds is expected to start around the 3rd week in July. This will include initial work by Watkin Jones and also some work on the Co-op. More information will follow as it becomes available. It does look as though the Co-op will not be open until Jan/Feb 2022 and that provided all goes to plan.
UPDATE ON THE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND CO-OP
The Club have held a couple of meetings with representatives of Watkin Jones (housing developers) and Thistlewood (Co-op) and the following timescales may be of interest to both club members and Llay residents. The following are extracts from the minutes of the latest meeting.
Proposed dates for the works were discussed: -
Coop project timeline
Note - SAB relates to drainage on site
S278 relates to necessary changes to the roads/highways