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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Partial sale agreed at town park
Acton Park
Planners are recommending selling 2% of the park
Part of a Wrexham park will be sold off for development, despite a campaign opposing the scheme by residents living nearby.

Two sites at the town's Acton Park had been earmarked for possible sale.

Councillors rejected proposals to build on Tapley Avenue, but agreed to sell land at the smaller site at Jeffreys Road - big enough for one home.

Wrexham council said it was part of a strategy to manage its assets and make them "work better" for the authority.

More than 60 residents attended the meeting at the council's headquarters on Tuesday.

Acton Park was originally laid out by Wrexham landowner Sir Foster Cunliffe, more than two centuries ago.

It now features a bowling green, tennis courts, children's play areas, a Japanese garden and a lake.

There has to be a way to balance the budget without selling off our green spaces
Lynne Hayes, Save Open Spaces Wales

During the meeting, Acton county councillor Geoff Lowe told the council "to sell off our heritage is not acceptable".

"I'm seriously concerned about the direction this council is taking," he added.

But Wrexham Council's strategic director Paul Roberts told the assembled crowd and councillors that they had "a duty and an obligation to make these assets work".

Campaigners said they will continue to fight against the sale of the Jeffreys Road site.

Before the hearing, resident Anita Howard said: "I am one of hundreds of people who use this park daily, and mostly twice a day.

"What the council is proposing and what they keep doing is nibbling away at the edges - it is time to stop."

Campaigners have set up a website and an online petition for people to register support.

Ms Howard added: "People from far and wide have contacted us - those people come from as far away as Gibraltar, London, Wiltshire."

Campaigners against Acton Park development
Plans for housing would destroy the park for many say campaigners

Lynne Hayes, who is from Save Open Spaces Wales, and has been involved in similar campaigns around Wrexham, added: "It has been in our hands for generations, I can't understand why they want to ruin it like this."

"There has to be a way to balance the budget without selling off our green spaces.

"They are so important to the communities - people need areas where they can see their children playing."

But Paul Roberts, from Wrexham council, said officers had only been recommending that 2% of the park be sold.

"For a long time now - in fact since Wrexham council has been established, nearly 10 years - we have had a strategic plan to dispose of assets, to make the assets we manage on behalf of the rate-payers of Wrexham work better for us," he said.

"Since that time - 1996 - we have invested about 36m in our schools in Wrexham."

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