The Welsh Government is looking into the possibility of securing the freehold of the land adjacent to the Racecourse Stadium, bordering Crispin Lane and Mold Road.
Correspondence (below) has revealed that the land behind Wrexham’s famous Kop is being looked at by Welsh Government officials, which if purchased, could in effect mean it is taken off the market and secured for future use.
A budget deal announced between Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru back in October 2017 contained an line regarding funding towards a football museum, with Wrexham in the running to be a possible location. Also in October it was confirmed that Glyndwr University was interested in purchasing the adjoining ‘Wrexham Village’ student flat development in line with their Campus 2025 strategy, with funding now believed to be in place to move that forward.
Since the flurry of activity in October and November we were told progress had been made to put together a deal that would see a situation that was a ‘win’ for all involved, however recently a sticking point over the Kop land became a hurdle that no one was keen to jump as it was surplus to the University’s requirements.
Local Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths has recently written letters to discover what progress had been made.
Today we can report she has had a reply from Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Infrastructure, confirming officials are ‘considering the potential for acquisition of part of the land not required by Glyndwr University’ and ‘independent valuation advice is now being sought to inform further consideration of the matter.’
Mr Skates’ letter also states ‘further discussions have taken place between Welsh Government officials and the University’ with regards to this matter.
Lesley Griffiths AM has corresponded with the Welsh Government, Wrexham AFC and Glyndwr University for a number of months and said: “This is certainly a positive development and I thank the Cabinet Secretary for his update and continued support.”
“Securing this particular piece of land is absolutely essential for any possible future redevelopment of the Kop and I will continue to make representations to the Welsh Government and support the process.”
“Coupled with Glyndwr University’s ‘Campus 2025’ plans, I believe there is an excellent opportunity to redevelop the entire area, improving the University and the Racecourse Stadium, and achieving something truly special for the town.”
In addition, Lesley Griffiths AM has also received an update from Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport, regarding the possibility of opening a Football Museum at the Racecourse Stadium.
All options are currently being explored and a feasibility study is due to be completed later in the Spring. The letter states ‘the football club will be able to use its findings to inform its own forward planning’.
Lesley Griffiths AM added: “I am grateful to the Minister for his latest update and am pleased progress is being made. Once the feasibility study is completed, I will continue to do all I can to assist the club moving forward.”
The land behind the Kop stand has been listed as under offer by agents Bolton Birch for a while, and the plan of the site shows how crucial the ownership and use is to the future of Wrexham Football Club. Any development would directly affect the access and future use of the Racecourse ground, thus fans have been hoping for a sympathetic owner rather than relying on the local authority due to the previous let downs by the planning and enforcement sections.
The student village development was subject to a ‘Unilateral Undertaking’ (PDF copy here) that Wrexham Council have previously confirmed ‘runs with the development not the owners’, so any new owner would be subject to it. Planning permission was granted in 2008 for a 521 student block, of which Block A has been completed and Block B has been partially completed.
The development will be deemed ‘completed’ once the rest of Block B has been built – if it ever is – and would then unlock this promise, however if plans change and a different use is proposed for the land the issue of a replacement stand will have to be revisited.
Copies of the replies to the local Assembly Member’s letters is copied below…