A number of improvements to help regenerate one of the Wrexham’s historic indoor markets have been given the go ahead.
The plans, which relate to the Butchers Market, aim to enhance the fabric of the building and could potentially lead to further regeneration of the building and the General Market.
In December 2017 Wrexham.com reported that such plans to get the ball rolling on the market’s regeneration had been put forward by Wrexham Council, with an application submitted for ‘external and internal alternations, including repairs to the historic fabric’.
Now a report due before Wrexham Council’s planning committee in next week states that the application has been approved via a delegated decision by the head of environment and planning.
Plans to regenerate the town’s two Victorian indoor markets have been on the cards for several years, with suggestions on how to do so initially mooted nearly five years ago.
In 2017 a 400k wish list was created for improvements for the Butchers Market and the General Market as and when funding was available – with potential works including repairing the glass roof in General Market, installation of WiFi in the two markets and refurbishing / replacing the stalls and canopies in the Butchers Market
It is estimated that over the next five years, to comprehensively refurbish the property to an overall standard that would be considered excellent, in the region of £128,000 for the General Market and £290,000 for the Butchers Market would need to be spent.
Details about why the application has been submitted are provided within the supporting documents, which explains that Wrexham Council are “working to reinvigorate and regenerate Wrexham town centre” and that the proposed works to the Butchers Market come off the back of various studies undertaken.
Such studies include the Wrexham Town Centre Masterplan (2016), the Wrexham Public Realm Strategy (2015) and the Markets and Henblas Commercial Study (2017), which Wrexham Council say “recognise the role that the historic market buildings can play in creating distinctive destinations within the town centre”.
The supporting documents continue onto say: “Through enhancing their appearance, character and commercial offer these buildings can encourage and support business and tourism activities.
“The works to the Butchers Market are not in isolation and these proposals form part of a larger delivery plan for comprehensive town centre regeneration.”
It is believed the scheme could see the following improvements made to the building:
– Improvement to the appearance and character of the listed building through the “replacement of a modern, inappropriate shop front with a more architecturally appropriate frontage to number 10 High Street”
– Enhancement to the original symmetrical appearance through installation of new shop front to match proportions and detail of existing shop front.
– Redecoration, decluttering and renewal of shop fronts creates an attractive facade that announces the building within the streetscape.
– Redecoration in a consistent colour scheme across all entrances and market buildings reinforces the markets as a “brand for the council and creates a sense of arrival”
One of the key changes which feature in the now approved planning document, is the creation of a level access into the main market hall from High Street.
At present the only level access to the market is via the Central Arcade, which is not owned by Wrexham Council.
Previously there has been criticism in the past about the lack of disabled access to the market, with both the Henblas Street and High Street entrances having steps. In August 2017 such issues were raised in the Town Centre Forum, with calls to make improving the access a priority for Wrexham Council.
However Wrexham Council say creating a level access from the High Street would help “make the market more accessible to everyone and allows visitors to use the principal entrance rather than secondary entrance through Central Arcade.”
The supporting documents put forward by Wrexham Council last year, conclude: “The works have been developed as part of a programme of possible investment into the markets and the design and details of the works have been informed by this assessment and an understanding of the building’s historial development and significance.
“It is evident that the building has been subject to change previously to meet the demands of a changing indoor market.
“Whilst these previous works have eroded some of the original architectural character there remains significant evidence of the design intentions of the the original building to help inform and guide future works to ensure the heritage significance of the building is conserved and where possible enhanced.”