The first and second floors above a row of shops at the entrance to Wrexham town centre could soon be converted into more than 50 flats.
In an application submitted to Wrexham Council it has been proposed that the two floors of 16-30 King Street / Centenary Buildings are converted into accommodation.
Currently the first and second floors of the building are largely unused, with the ground floor featuring a mixture of occupied and vacant units.
However if planning approval is granted, the first and second floors will be converted into 52 flats. Of the flats 33 would be one bedroom and the remaining 19 would consist of two bedrooms.
The documents give a general overview of he ‘historic development and context’, starting by telling the story of the town – oddly from the Roman period, although it is not clear if chariots were parked on King St.
Details provided within the application’s supporting describe the building as a “negative feature in the area”, with the proposals aiming to create a ‘more positive contribution” to the streetscape.
As part of the application a dedicated entrance foyer to the flats would be created, along external modifications to the cladding. The current 20 parking spaces at the rear of the property would also remain.
It is also noted that refurbishment of the shops on the ground level will take place, with a “concerted effort” to establish 100 per cent occupancy.
The supporting documents add: “The prospect of providing residential use is welcoming to the town centre periphery where retail and commercial activities are struggling in terms of economic uncertainty in the sectors concerned.
“The continuing increase in online transactions and communications is likely to shape retail and commercial areas throughout the country.”
There are proposals (picture above) to ‘implement some tree line softening to the east side street and the west perimeters’, with trees later referenced as breaking up the space between the bus station and the building. The space in question was subject to a £1.5m ‘regeneration’ back in 2013 (pictures and info from back then are here).
They continue onto say: “The Centenary Building is considered a negative feature in the area, with its stark uncompromising slab block flat roofed form and totally uniform and uninspiring curtain walling providing an extremely large bland and lifeless street facade impacting on its surroundings.
“Its rearward west elevation is even less appealing, very much a back yard with the emphasis on it doesn’t matter approach. Ultimately it is seen from Grosvenor Road and presents a very poor backdrop to any street view and the environmental setting. There is stark contrast in terms of expected life of materials, detail and interest.
“However in a very significant way the present situation does represent a major opportunity to remodel and improve and extensive street frontage. This will act as a catalyst for local enhancements and engender local pride.
“It will provide a complementary and contemporary design to the bus station. An interlude in the length of King Street and for which a departure from usage will present longevity in security of maintenance and visual improvement.”
The application is one of several proposing accommodation above town centre shops to have been submitted to Wrexham Council in recent months – a concept which features heavily in the Wrexham Town Centre Masterplan.
A decision on whether the plans can go ahead or not will be made at a later date.