National Trust under fire for its plans to sell Erddig land

National Trust has defended plans to build houses on a famous estate after press reports and a local backlash.

The trust said the scheme for 223 homes on the Erddig estate was supported by an “overwhelming majority” of locals. It was forced to defend itself after campaigners and press including satirical magazine Private Eye condemned the project. They argued that the Georgian house and well over 400ha of land near Wrexham was given to the trust in the 1970s on condition no building took place. But a trust representative said it had to sell some of the land to pay for an upkeep deficit of £15m. “We had more than a year of public meetings and found the overwhelming majority of local people in favour,” she said. “The deed of gift included ‘preservation’ land not to be built on. But the former owner, Philip Yorke, left a larger bit of ‘endowment’ land to pay for estate upkeep. “We are disappointed objections are being raised at this late stage by groups that have not discussed their concerns directly.” One of those groups, Cymuned, said that there had been no public consultations bar a few displays, and that the number of houses had risen by 83 from the original plans. A decision on the scheme by Countryside Properties is due next month.

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