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Community building which received £1m cash injection set for auction unless council accept bid

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 29th, 2019.

A community building which underwent renovations worth more than £1 million is set to go under the hammer at a guide price of around £100,000.

Ebenezer Chapel in Cefn Mawr received a significant injection of grant funding in 2008, which saw it converted into a community centre with office and gallery spaces and a café bar.

However, the project encountered financial difficulties because of a lack of visitors and the former Baptist chapel closed its doors five years later.

The property, which was originally built in 1873, has since been described as a ‘white elephant’ in the community after becoming a target for vandals Wrexham Council is now planning to sell it off at auction with bidders being invited to make offers of £100,000 and above at auction.

Among those looking to buy it are members of the Plas Kynaston Canal Group, which has ambitious plans to link it to a new cable car system. In recent days the group have offered Wrexham Council £100,000 for the site ahead of the auction, however in emails seen by Wrexham.com it appears no response has yet been given to that offer, noting “We are now hoping that WCBC will see fit to accept our offer and work with us for the Economic Regeneration of our community through a practical application of Sustainable Tourism Development. This will link our community directly into the WHS corridor and significantly improve the visitor facility offer at the central section of the WHS that we live in.

Previously outlining the group’s vision, spokesman Dave Metcalfe circulated a press release that noted: “The Ebenezer failed for two main reasons, a lack of foot fall and no parking.

“By linking the Windborne Gate to the Ebenezer with the cable car system, the problems are solved.

“There are 330,000 people visiting the aqueduct annually and if only ten per-cent ride the cable car, this still delivers 33,000 tourists onto our streets, enough to keep the Ebenezer busy.

“Our main problem will be getting Wrexham Council and partners to work with us, but we hope they will come around since this will be the key, they seek and a major boost to the economic future of our community.”

Members of the council’s executive board agreed to dispose of land next to the building at a meeting in December to allow the sale to go ahead.

Any buyer will be required to keep the steps and an open area to the front accessible to the public.

Unless the pre-bid is accepted by Wrexham Council the property will go under the hammer at the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford on Tuesday 19 February.

Auctioneers Pugh said the building could be used for a number of purposes subject to planning consent.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme) / Wrexham.com

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