Members of the public will have the chance to have their say on extensive regeneration and tourism plans for the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct consultation event later this month.
Plans to explore the future potential for the World Heritage Site were unveiled in August 2017.
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site, inscribed in 2009, currently attracts 250,000-300,000 visitors. However the site is seen to have the potential to bring more jobs and economic prosperity to the area.
The study area boasts a challenging mix of land uses from brownfield sites left vacant after the closure of chemical and brick manufacturing industries to an internationally-important canal tourist destination.
The first stakeholder meeting was held at Trevor in June, when suggestions were made for a new visitor centre and canal basin next to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a treetop pathway, improved cycling and walking routes, nature walks, leisure activites such as glamping, and extra car and coach parking.
Plans for an extra temporary car park while the masterplan is developed were recently approved by Wrexham County Borough Council.
Other suggestions for the World Heritage Site include creating a new visitor centre and visitor experience, improved signage; recreation of historic transport routes, enhanced infrastructure for business boating customers and private boaters, tree management to enhance views and the creation of new habitat/ green space on former industrial land.
Now the public will have the chance to have their say on the future of the site, with a consultation event on Monday 22 January 2018.
Two public consultation events were scheduled before Christmas but one had to be cancelled due to snow and bad weather. This new event replaces the session planned for 11 December and will be held at Cefn Mawr, George Edwards Hall, from 10am – 3.30pm.
Glandŵr Cymru (the Canal & River Trust charity in Wales), Wrexham County Borough Council and Solutia UK Ltd are working with global design consultancy Arcadis and a range of stakeholders on the Trevor Basin Area Masterplan.
This will identify opportunities for tourism and economic regeneration at Trevor Basin, next to the aqueduct, and nearby communities of Trevor, Froncysyllte, Acrefair, and Cefn Mawr.
The Trust cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s waterways including the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal. Solutia UK Limited owns 59 hectares (147 acres) of land within the masterplan study area. This includes former manufacturing and warehousing sites, plus 25 hectares (61 acres) of fields and woodlands adjacent to the World Heritage Site and along the River Dee.
Stuart Mills, chief investment officer with the Canal & River Trust, said: “Everyone is invited to give their views and offer ideas for the future of this historically important site. We had some great suggestions from our first public consultation session at Trevor community centre and look forward to hearing more at Cefn Mawr.
“Our World Heritage Site is on an equal international footing with the Pyramids and Stonehenge. People travel from all over the world to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal, and we want to ensure that they have a world class experience when they get here.
“We are delighted to be working with our partners from Solutia UK Ltd and Wrexham County Borough Council, and our consultants Arcadis to develop a deliverable strategic masterplan for this area and we are very interested to hear the views of local people.”
Cllr Hugh Jones, chair of the World Heritage Site Board and Wrexham County Borough Council’s Lead Member for communities, partnerships, public protection and community safety, said: “This is a great opportunity for local communities and residents to have a positive input into the regeneration opportunities being looked at for land surrounding the World Heritage Site to help further boost the tourism economy of Wrexham”.
Steve Westhead, from Solutia UK Limited, added: “As one of the three landowners within the masterplan boundary area, we are pleased to cooperate with the Canal & River Trust and Wrexham County Borough Council in this important project. We look forward to hearing the views of the local community about creating an exciting future for the area.”
Anyone unable to attend the consultation events is invited to register their views online at www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk.
All the feedback will be reviewed and an appraisal carried out before a preferred option is produced for further consultation in late spring 2018.