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Lindop Brothers planning refusal could jeopardise Toyota franchise

Lindop Brothers Toyota Wrexham

Toyota car retailer Lindop Brothers has expressed concerns that planning officials rejection of its dealership expansion plans could jeopardise its franchise agreement with the Japanese brand.

An article in the Wrexham Leader newspaper revealed that planning officials at Wrexham Council had recommended that plans for the dealership site on Llay New Road, Wrexham, be turned down because of concerns over its impact an area of green barrier land.

The stance comes despite an admission that the authority had received no objections from local residents and fears that blocking the plans could put the business and 30 jobs at risk.

Lindop Brothers owner, Steve Hopewell, said that a failure to extend the site was likely to result in the firm losing its franchise and closing due to an inability to meet Toyota's capacity standards.

But, ahead of a planning committee meeting scheduled for this week, Wrexham Council head of planning Lawrence Isted said: “The applicant has submitted additional information in the form of a letter dated April 12, 2021, which sets out a list of alternative sites and a signed list of residents and neighbours in support of the development.

“The key issue is whether the additional information submitted results in the proposed development constituting ‘very exceptional circumstances’ as to warrant granting approval of the extension of the site in this green barrier location.

“The proposal does not meet all of the tests set out and the harm that would arise to the environment would not be outweighed by any economic and social benefits arising from the proposal.

“Whilst no local objections have been received at the time of writing, this again is not a reason to justify granting planning permission.

“The recommendation for refusal remains unchanged.”

Speaking to Wrexham Council's planning committee back in March, Hopewell said that Lindop Brothers' expansion would help to accomodate Toyota's expected growth in electric vehicles (EV) sales.

He said the plan would also result in the creation of five jobs.

But Hopewell said that, if the plan was not permitted, it could trigger the loss of the Toyota franchise and see the business "swallowed up".

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