Plans to revitalise former Denbigh asylum must be accompanied by investment in infrastructure, says councillor
A councillor has called for a developer to invest in roads, schools and health if it is to build a huge housing scheme in his town.
Denbighshire county councillor Glenn Swingler said he sympathises with people’s wishes to “save what is left” of the former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh, but wants the developers to invest in infrastructure.
Proposals on behalf of Jones Brothers Ruthin Development Holding Limited went in to local authority planners this week for the site, which has lain empty and increasingly more derelict since 1995.
The company said it has shown its commitment to the decade-long project by building a centre on site for 35 apprentices to be trained each year – and it does provide new infrastructure.
The scheme, built in five phases, would see part demolition, conversion and restoration of the main Grade II listed buildings to produce 34 dwellings plus demolition of other buildings on the site.
The main structure will be redeveloped as 28 two bed and six three bed apartments.
Also being planned for the 20.5 hectare plot are up to 300 homes and 1,114 square metres (around a quarter of an acre) for business units, which could include shops, leisure facilities, bars, a hotel or offices.
Alternatively, the proposal suggests units could be used for clinics or child care.
The scheme would see Denbigh Cricket Club re-sited, complete with new clubhouse and nearby tennis courts and internal roads and cycle paths.
Cllr Swingler believes it will be good news if the developer contributes to improved infrastructure.
He said: “If we have to build 300 houses with a population increase of over 1,000 people – including a good number of children – and 500 cars, I really need to see a plan that invests in the infrastructure of the town, including schools, surgeries, dentists, roads.
“I understand the desire to save what remains of the old North Wales Hospital, its history and its sentimental value to Denbigh, and I understand this project is the only one on the table, but let’s get it right to prevent problems that would occur if we don’t.”
The design and phasing statement explains the new scheme shows an increase of 100 homes (from 200 to 300) from a previous application lodged six years ago because it will cost more to secure the main building due to vandalism.
The development would initially see demolition of some of the hospital’s buildings.
First building works on the site would see 55 homes built on the western boundary along the B4501.
Sales of these properties will fund work to the main building, according to the design documents and funding will be sought through external grants and cash from the North Wales Growth fund.
A spokesperson for Jones Bros said: “We have been working very closely with Denbighshire County Council on a development which we believe will provide a positive future for a site which has a special place in the hearts of the people of Denbigh.
“We believe the plans we have submitted will ensure this historic asset is once more a vibrant part of the local community.
“This development is an opportunity for it to take its place again at the hub of the town and to provide a £70 million boost to the local economy.
“This is a 10-year project which takes into account local infrastructure including housing, transport, education and leisure facilities.
“A local consultation was held at Denbigh Library when the plans were available for viewing by the public and received widespread support.“
By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter
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