Posted: Fri 5th Jul 2019

Football museum plans to be ‘taken forward’ – with explainer why it is better in town than inside new Kop stand for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jul 5th, 2019

Plans for a new football museum in Wrexham are to be “taken forward”, with the chief executive explaining why it is better located in the town rather than at the Racecourse.

Earlier this year Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism announced that “developing new facilities at Wrexham Museum would be the best option to create a showcase for our football heritage.”

It is anticipated that visitor numbers could rise to a target of 80,000 footfalls a year to the new football specific museum.

The Welsh Government originally allocated the sum of £5m in the 2019/20 capital provision for the development of this museum together with new contemporary art provision elsewhere in Wales, this was subsequently increased to £10m in January.

Based on current proposals, the initial estimate of the capital cost for such a facility is around £4,400,000, and the additional running costs to support the proposed museum are estimated to be in the order of £144,500 per annum.

New details release state the intention is that the new Football Museum would be ‘national styled’ although formally not part of the portfolio of museums run by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museums Wales. This appears to mean it would be run by Wrexham Council.

A new offsite collections store would be required as part of the overall development.

In the usual ‘implications’ section of the report before councillors it notes under ‘budget’ – “Although there will be increased opportunities for the use of volunteers in the new Capital and Revenue implications to the proposed development will be identified through the development of the proposal to RIBA Stage 3 as proposed.

“An application will be made to Welsh Government and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to fund the development stage up to RIBA Stage 3.” asked Cllr Hugh Jones, deputy leader of Wrexham Council, if there was any ongoing revenue contribution planned rather than just capital,

Cllr Jones said: “If you look at the capital contribution, the reference to the 10 million is split between the national contemporary art gallery, and the football” explaining that final figures for the capital will not be known until the next few stages that include the design and architecture design phases.

“There are revenue implications, yes, and that’s why we’re looking at other means of funding and raising revenue. We will need to increase our staff as well, so there are revenue implications.”

With the recent announcements over the aspirations over the Kop, and previous questions raised why the museum was not part of that planned redevelopment.

Council Chief Exec Ian Bancroft explained: “This is why the football museum is right at the Museum, because in reality, you need to create as much revenue generating space in the form of the football ground.”

“If you put the museum in there, you’ve lost the ability to open up whole space for conference, conventions or catering. I think both us and the football club are the same view.

“It is good the studies are happening in parallel, because it really does say why the football museum it is right at the museum, you need to focus on revenue generating activity within the stand.”

The upgrading and redevelopment of Wrexham Museum could include circa 200m2 of new gallery spaces on the first floor, together with an extension set out within the forecourt zones of 160m2.

The existing glazed frontage could be modified to link the Grade II listed building with the proposed new infrastructure developed in the forecourt area, although there are no formal public plans.

It is anticipated that visitor numbers could rise to a target of 80,000 footfalls a year to the new football specific museum.

Councillors will be likely to approve the plan to authorise council officers to enter into discussions with Welsh Government to take this proposal forward.

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