PLANS to create two new gas engines to help power a factory in Chirk have been placed on hold amid concerns over air and noise pollution.

Residents living in the town have raised hundreds of complaints against the owners of the Kronospan wood panel manufacturing plant in recent years.

It comes following reported issues with loud noises and dust emissions coming from the facility on Holyhead Road.

Councillors in Wrexham met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss proposals to install new equipment to provide energy and improve the sustainability of the business.

The application, which forms part of £200m investment in the site, had been recommended to go ahead by Wrexham Council’s chief planning officer Lawrence Isted.

However, members of the local authority’s planning committee, chose to defer the matter after a community leader claimed the proposals posed a risk to the wellbeing of residents.

Speaking at the start of the meeting, Chirk community councillor Gareth Baines said: “It is my belief that the recommendation of the chief planning officer is based on incomplete information.

“The reality for people living in Chirk is that they have serious concerns with regards to the application.

“They are living day in, day out with heavy traffic and accompanying vehicle pollution, with the dust emitting from the factory and with noise.

“It is having an extremely serious and detrimental impact on their wellbeing.

“The council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and if it is serious in that declaration then you will reject this application before you.”

Cllr Baines said complaints about the plant had also been received from the nearby village of Froncysyllte, as well as Chirk Bank and Weston Rhyn in Shropshire.

He called for Kronospan to allow independent monitoring equipment to be placed in Chirk to assess the impact.

Before the meeting, Mr Isted said Natural Resources Wales had already granted an environmental permit for the new gas engines.

Public protection officers also said they believed the pollution issues were under control.

But members of the committee echoed the concerns raised by the community.

Cllr Paul Pemberton said: “I think it’s about time we looked at this in a more objective and transparent manner.

“I can’t see why we can’t have a permanent air quality and dust monitoring facility paid for by Kronospan in the village.

“I think a way forward is if we did defer it and if our friend from Kronospan could delve into their pockets and give some independent monitoring.

“That would give a lot more confidence in the company from the community.”

The committee opted by eleven votes to three to defer the application until next month to allow Kronospan to meet with planning officers to discuss the installation of monitoring equipment.