Techniquest Glyndŵr have just announced the ‘successful conclusion of negotiations’ which means that an additional space will soon be available for the popular Science Discovery Centre in Wrexham – in the previously dormant old TJ Hughes building.
Techniquest Glyndŵr say the move will help them to ‘engage new audiences in the excitement of science and technology’.
The former TJ Hughes premises located between Chester Street and Henblas Square, Wrexham has lain empty since 2011 when the retailer closed its doors in the town for the last time.
After long term speculation it has been announced this lunchtime that a 12 month agreement has been signed.
Techniquest Glyndŵr say: “The building will now have a new lease of life, playing host to a programme of community science events, exhibitions and fundraising events which are being planned by Techniquest Glyndŵr to take place over the next year.”
“Working with support from Wrexham County Borough Council, Wrexham Glyndwr University and the Welsh Government, the Techniquest Glyndŵr team are excited by this opportunity to reach new audiences, develop new partnerships and closer links within the town centre whilst retaining their existing presence on the university campus.
“It is hoped that the events will be a prelude to the ambitious plans of North Wales Science Limited, the charity that runs Techniquest Glyndŵr, to move its operational base to the building in the centre of Wrexham in 2019.”
Making the announcement on behalf of the charity, Iwan Thomas, Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “Techniquest Glyndŵr has a fantastic offer and this opportunity to have a presence in the town centre will really help to put us on the map and attract even more visitors to the town.”
“This development will also add significantly to the cultural offer being developed by Wrexham County Borough Council, including the Ty Pawb arts hub, which will help to create additional footfall to all of the town centre businesses.”
“The negotiations have been complex and have involved the owners of the building MCR Property Group, Wrexham Borough Council, North Wales Science Limited and Wrexham Glyndŵr University agreeing a feasible plan to take over the building on a short-term basis. This is prior to the outcome of a series of funding applications which will enable the transformation of the building into a major visitor attraction as a large science discovery centre right in the heart of Wrexham town centre.”
Lynda Powell, Director of Operations at Wrexham Glyndŵr University and a board member of North Wales Science Limited said: “The University had the foresight in setting up North Wales Science almost 15 years ago. Since then the charity has grown into the significant presence that Techniquest Glyndŵr has both on our campus and more widely in the community.
“With our close working relationship developed over the years we are pleased to have been able to assist with this venture as part of a long term growth plan for Techniquest Glyndŵr.
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the proactive support of the building’s owners MCR Property Group which has made this development possible.”
Techniquest Glyndŵr is launching a major fundraising initiative which will involve events and applications to a variety of potential funders including charitable trusts and local industry. The charity also hopes to establish stronger links with local technology businesses as part of the bold development plan by making possible the acquisition of exciting new interactive exhibits and the development of additional science workshops and shows.
Scot Owen the Centre Manager said: “For a long time we have been looking at ways to have a more visible presence in Wrexham, and our current location has made it difficult to attract the sort of visitor numbers we want in order to ensure a longer term sustainable future for the centre.
The opening of the temporary town centre venue will be a great way to celebrate our 15th year of operation and we intend that this new presence will help ensure that Techniquest Glyndŵr will be thriving for many more years to come.”
Techniquest Glyndŵr’s Exhibition and Events Coordinator, Mandy Jones commented: “Recent news showed that Wrexham has a growing tourism economy which is now worth nearly £116 million.
“With this additional presence we are hoping to be able to contribute further to that growth by attracting new visitors to the town and this is the exciting first step towards developing a permanent town centre site.
“We are looking to the public and local and regional industry to help us achieve our charity’s ambition to develop this additional base into an exciting ‘go to’ venue right at the heart of the community”
Top pic: In front of the former TJ Hughes building on Henblas Square are Chair of the North Wales Science Board, Iwan Thomas (R) together with Scot Owen, Centre Manager Techniquest Glyndŵr (L) and Mandy Jones Exhibition & Events Coordinator Techniquest Glyndŵr.