An ‘aspirational masterplan’ that aims to take Wrexham Town Centre forward, has been given the green light by councillors.
During this week’s Executive Board meeting members voted overwhelmingly in favour of approving Wrexham’s Town Centre Masterplan – a hefty document which provides a strategic vision for the town.
The document itself focuses on several key sites in the town centre area, including Bridge Street, Queens Square, Henblas Street, Bodhyfryd and the soon to be vacant Fire Station on Bradley Road.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Lead member for economy – economic development and regeneration, Cllr Neil Rogers welcomed the report, stating that the framework listed is how Wrexham can ‘attract investment in the town centre in the future’.
Cllr Rogers continued onto say: “There is concern about the identity of the town centre and we need to build on some of the attractions from the tourism aspect as well.”
He added that in the past ’12-18 months £100 million has been generated by tourism’ across the County Borough. The figures, which were initially unveiled last September provided both jobs and an economic boost to Wrexham.
Praise for the Masterplan was also echoed by Cllr Bob Dutton who said: “I think it is important that opinion formers in Wrexham take note of what this authority is doing in terms of the town centre.
“This authority is working hard towards the future. Welsh Government has recognised its importance through the VVP Programme.
“I think we are moving into a new world for our plans for the future.”
Comments were also made about investment that had already been brought into the town centre, with particular reference made to the ‘Arts and Cultural Centre / Market’ development which is set to commence early next year.
Lead member for place, communities and partnerships, Cllr Hugh Jones said: “It we look at the Arts Hub which was criticised in the early stages, but moved through a process where we got support from those who opposed it. It is about how the Arts Hub and People’s Market are an essential part of this process.
“It is about improving the offer, the night time economy and footfall in an area of Wrexham in bad need of it.”
Cllr Rogers noted that a total of 12,000 people are employed in the creative industries in North Wales, adding: “All too often we hear the negatives about empty shops in the town centre, the number in our ownership is few. The perception of the public is we own all empty shops in Wrexham, we don’t.”
He added: “It is aspirational. Standing still is not an option. There are huge opportunities in those five sites – a mixture of retail and housing that can benefit the town.”
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