Wrexham Council are set launch a bid to secure £1.5 million for “heritage led regeneration activities” in the town centre.
Members of the council’s executive board yesterday backed plans to submit a Stage Two application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help safeguard and preserve buildings within the Wrexham Town Centre Conservation Area.
Last year the local authority was awarded a £65,000 grant, which has gone towards assessing how the Wrexham Town Centre Townscape Heritage Scheme will be delivered.
If successful the proposed scheme will help with the regeneration of areas such as:
– Improving the heritage value and identity of Wrexham Town Centre Conservation Area, through repair and reinstatement of lost original and traditional architectural features and details to target buildings, thus enhancing the appearance of the town’s heritage assets;
– Improving the vitality and vibrancy of the town centre by bringing back into use derelict/vacant properties;
– Attracting private sector investment to create housing above retail premises and reuse of vacant buildings, by creating access to under-utilised and vacant upper floors from the streetscape;
– Support the development of the town centre as an attractive place to visit and enjoy new and enhanced attractions that use heritage as the key focus; and
– Create opportunities for residents, building owners, contractors, local groups and schools to engage with and learn about heritage through a variety of means including; the arts via Tŷ Pawb, gallery exhibitions through Wrexham Museum and through the delivery of training and education through a Traditional Building Skills programme to up-skill contractors locally.
It also includes the Butchers and General Markets, which are described as “anchor buildings to the scheme”.
Speaking yesterday, Lead Member for Economic Regeneration, Cllr Terry Evans said: “Although 1.52m has been ring-fenced by the National Heritage Lottery, confirmation of this award is subject to a successful stage 2 application
“There has been development work since 2017 has led to the identification of a core area to be targeted for support through the scheme. The National Heritage Lottery has encouraged us to identify a boundary that has the greatest impact with the greatest concentration of buildings.
“If property owners in targeted areas do not come forward and take up the opportunity, there may be flexibility at a later stage to look outside the boundary and look at properties outside of the conservation area.
“I would urge members to support the implementation of a programme of heritage led regeneration activity through the Townscape Heritage Scheme.”
Overall it is estimated that over £6 million will be invested in the scheme subject to various funding streams being secured (more can be found on the council website here)
However Cllr Marc Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward, asked if councillors who represent parts of the town centre could be included in future discussions.
He said: “I fully support the intention behind this. The heritage needs improving and the idea of using traditional skills is excellent.
“I am pleased the town centre is getting the attention it deserves. The market quarter, which includes many independent shops, has been in need of some TLC for sometime, it is a hidden jewel that we need to be polishing up.
“I hope we get the grant. However I do have a general concern about grants, especially capital grants, in that we spend a lot of money doing things up and we have nothing to go into them. This is a different case in many ways as already talking about how we can improve the buildings in our possession at least.
“It is important we keep traders and the general public as engaged as in the process as much as possible.
He added: “I would appreciate more input, think we would all appreciate more input, this is a big pot of money and it can go a long way to improving the town centre.”
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