RESIDENTS protesting at council plans to sell off school land on Chester Road will be given the chance to help dictate its future.
Wrexham council has revealed it is to consult residents over the controversial proposal to sell off a strip of land known as Nine Acre Field.
A major campaign by residents, concerned about the loss of open space, was launched after news of the proposed sell-off broke.
Wrexham resident Lynne Hayes is spearheading the campaign to stop the proposed sell-off.
Lynne, of Barkers Lane, is leading the bid by action group Save Open Spaces (SOS).
She said: 'Regarding Nine Acre Field, I'm delighted the council is graciously allowing a public consultation. This makes a very pleasant change from the behind closed doors approach usually adopted.'
Wrexham Council unveiled plans to sell off some of the land to cover the cost of the massive overspend on the 'Superschools' project.
Councillors have identified the need to raise £1.5m to help meet the unexpected cost of building the schools, the cost of which has risen from an estimated £12.4m to a potential £22.5m.
Leader of Wrexham Council Shan Wilkinson said the land, which was previously used by the Groves School, was now surplus to requirements.
She says no decision had been made on the future of the land.
She said: 'It's a proposal at the moment, that's all it is. I want to hear what people think. Perhaps part of it could be sold for affordable housing and the rest turned into a public open space. I'm sure there will be lots of ideas from residents and we would like to hear them.'
The council has requested comments on the draft development guidance for the fields, which examines the potential for development in the light of local and national planning policies.
The draft guidance suggests two options for development on the site: Housing development on the eastern one-fifth of the site (approximately 0.8 hectares). Housing development on the eastern one-third of the site (approximately 1.2 hectares), if the loss of this land as playing field was replaced with an equivalent or greater provision in the immediate locality.
A council spokesperson added: 'The council will welcome comments both on the principle of developing part of the site, and on the detailed proposals set out in the draft guidance.
'The Council would like to receive comments by Friday, May 14. All comments will be carefully considered before the guidance is finalised.'
But Lynne Hayes said: 'Wrexham Council officers have given the public only two options. They seem to forget there is a third option - leave the field as it is.
'Let's have a public debate that offers a real choice and not the phoney options put forward by the council. Option three is leave the field as it has been for more than 100 years - a playing field for the benefit of the community.
'SOS Wales supports this third option andwe strongly urge membersof the public, who oppose the sell-off of playing fields and community open space to choose option three.' Comments should be set out in writing, and forwarded to the Chief Planning Officer at the following address: Lambpit Street, PO Box 1290, Wrexham LL11 1WL.