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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 April, 2005, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Witches' pool homes rejected
Woodcut of a witch's trial
Local legend has the ducking pool dating from the 17th Century
Plans to build luxury houses on what is believed to be the site of an ancient witches' ducking pool have been halted.

Gower Homes wanted to build 22 houses off Gerald Street in Wrexham.

However, local people had campaigned against the plan, claiming traffic would increase and the historic site would be lost forever.

The local legend can be traced back to the 17th century but historians are remaining open-minded about the truth of it.

"We've had a lot of people in trying to find information about it but there's no evidence to suggest it was a ducking pool," said local studies librarian Joy Thomas.

She added it was a "local legend" and whilst a ducking pond may have been situated on the edge of town many of the area's punishments were dished out on the other side of Wrexham, where the Beast Market was situated.

Gerald Street
Gerald Street residents were worried about traffic problems

Gower Homes had submitted the application to Wrexham Council last year to build new houses near the site of the Pwll-yr-Wrach pond.

The pond dates back to the 17th century, when women suspected of witchery would have their right thumb bound to their left toe, and plunged in.

But it was rough justice: If the woman floated, local people believed it proved an association with the occult, because the body rejected the baptismal water, and a grim fate awaited her.

She could be proven "innocent" - but only if she drowned.

Today the road in Rhosddu, on the outskirts of the town centre, hosts a mixture of Victorian-style houses. But a benefits office is on the corner of the road which increases traffic.

A study carried out last November discovered that 100 cars an hour used the 50-house street over a 12-hour stretch.

On Monday, Wrexham councillors agreed traffic would increase if new houses were and the plan was rejected.

Gerald Street resident Rob Rayworth said he was pleased with the council's decision.

"We're glad the councillors voted unanimously to reject the planning application, which we opposed because it would cause more traffic congestion in an already busy street and cause further gridlock at the junction with Grosvenor Road," he said.

The site, a former garden centre, has been described as a green oasis by local people who want wildlife there to be safeguarded

On Tuesday, nobody was available from Gower Homes to comment on the council's decision.

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