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Plans for 50+ apartments in former Henblas Street office space

Plans to convert the first floor of a derelict row of town centre shops into apartments have been submitted.

The application, submitted in relation to Henblas Street, also includes the creations of mezzanines and external alterations.

Seen as a ‘landmark development’ when it was built back in the late 90s/early 00s, Henblas Square has more recently seen all its high street retailers vacate the site due either to relocation or companies falling into administration.

The first major blow to the shopping area was the loss of TJ Hughes in 2011, which many saw as a link between the town centre and Chester Street and the People’s Market.

Shops such as Bodycare, The Entertainer, Evans and the Post Office have also left site.

In August 2017 the last big name of Henblas Square, Bhs, entered administration – leaving one of the site’s largest and most prominent retail units vacant.

Last summer sparked fresh hope from the future of the site when it was announced that Manchester based company MCR Property had purchased the row of empty units and first floor office space.

At the time the owners stating shortly afterwards that they were confident they could provide a “mixed use offering at the site”.

One year on and all but one of the shops is occupied – with Techniquest signing a lease which will hopefully bring the former TJ Hughes back to long-term use.

Now an application submitted for the development could see a fresh lease of life breathed into the site, with plans to convert the former first floor office space above a number of the shops (excluding TJ Hughes) into 55 apartments. These would comprise of a mixture of one and two bedrooms.

As part of the proposals all the ground floor will remain as retail units.

Details submitted in the application reference the Wrexham Town Centre Masterplan, an aspirational document created by Vibrant and Viable Places funding which aims to take the town centre forward.

The plan itself highlights the importance of town centre living to regenerate empty offices / space above shops.

The proposals conclude: “The application property is a largely vacant building located in Wrexham town centre. It is, however a well-established building in good condition, which is suitable for conversion accordingly.

“As a result the application proposals seek to bring the first floor of the building back into active use for residential purposes, whilst retaining the ground flood units (albeit these are largely not occupied presently).

“This residential use would align with one of the objectives of the Wrexham Town Centre Masterplan, which seeks to increase town centre living, whilst the retention of the ground floor uses will ensure no conflicts with relevant town centre policies on the UDP.

“No car parking is proposed on site as part of the proposals, but such is not deemed necessary on this occasion due to the highly sustainable location of the building.”

It has not been confirmed what will fill the remaining vacant shops – however a well known high street name has been mooted to take over one of the units…

The application will be considered for approval at a later date.

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