Posted: Sun 25th Oct 2020

Plans for Welsh football museum in Wrexham ‘not in jeopardy’ despite delays and funding uncertainty for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Plans to create a new Welsh football museum in Wrexham are “not in jeopardy”, council officers have insisted.

It comes despite proposals to host the sporting showcase at the existing town centre museum being hit by delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as uncertainty over funding.

The Welsh Government originally earmarked approximately £5m for the development of the museum, together with new contemporary art museum elsewhere in Wales.

However, timescales have been pushed back because of the national crisis and Wrexham Council officials told backbench politicians this week there was no specific total set aside for the project.

About £440,000 has already been secured to develop the plans, but questions were asked over whether the scheme had taken a backward step.

Speaking on Thursday, Grosvenor ward councillor Marc Jones said: “There are an awful lot of very positive projects, both public sector and private sector, on the boil in Wrexham town centre.

“Unfortunately, they have all been put on hold or delayed because of this.

“One of those is the National Football Museum and I was just wanting clarification on the issues that were raised in this report.

“It says £440,000 has been obtained to deliver the development phase. Is that in addition to the £5m allocated for this project by Welsh Government and what is the expected timescale?”

A report presented to members of the council’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee shows consultants were appointed in August to complete a business plan for the museum.

Advisors from the company Fourth Street were due to present a finalised case by the end of last month and the steering group behind the project also had a virtual meeting around that time.

But officers said they had originally been prepared to seek a consultancy firm in March.

Rebeccah Lowry, Wrexham’s regeneration manager, said: “There was a whole set of things that money would have been spent on that was profiled for this year.

“But unfortunately delays with recruitment, delays with being able to procure the consultants and the design team mean we will have to reprofile that and the project will be delayed.

“We’re working closely with Welsh Government on that, they’re aware of that and it will not see the project in jeopardy – it will just see it delayed.”

Cllr Jones said he was concerned by the lack of clarity over funding for the museum.

He asked whether the council feared the government was “reeling back” on its proposed contribution.

In response, Ms Lowry said: “To say there’s a £5m budget just sat there, I feel as if they’re trying to say that’s not necessarily the case.

“It may be that the project costs more, but we need funds from elsewhere or to do it differently.

“Certainly not by any means do I feel they’re reneging on that.”

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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