A final decision on Wrexham being the location for a National Football Museum appears to be edging closer, with more positive noises emanating from Cardiff of the town being the preferred option.
Towards the tail end of last year a report recommended a new National Football Museum should be created in Wrexham, although at the town’s existing museum rather than at the Racecourse stadium.
Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism has given a short update this afternoon on the status of a football museum in Wrexham, “The case for creating a football related museum and visitor attraction was set out clearly in the consultants’ report. This concluded that developing new facilities at Wrexham Museum would be the best option to create a showcase for our football heritage.
“The study also recommended that this be done in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru, which continues to collect and promote sporting heritage as an integral part of the cultural life and national history of Wales. As I outlined in the plenary debate in November, I do see investment in the local museum in Wrexham as a pragmatic and achievable approach that can deliver a high quality result.
“The realisation of this, however, lies not just with the Welsh Government and discussions have now begun with the key partners. I have asked my officials to determine an agreed way forward by the end of the summer. I will issue a further statement once more progress has been made.”
Lesley Griffiths AM has championed the case for a national, football-related museum to be located in Wrexham and has welcomed the Welsh Government’s update.
She said: “Wrexham is a passionate footballing town and the rightful home of Welsh football, which makes it is the ideal location to exhibit our nation’s proud sporting heritage.”
“The Welsh Government has outlined its broad support for the feasibility study’s findings and there can be little doubt this investment, right in the heart of the town, would be a fantastic asset not just for Wrexham, but for North Wales in general.”
“Having made representations to the Welsh Government, the desire for the museum to be located in Wrexham is clear. Further discussions with key partners are underway and I will continue to support the development.”
Based on current proposals, the initial estimate of the capital cost for such a facility is around £4,400,000, and the additional running costs to support the proposed Museum are estimated to be in the order of £144,500 per annum.
The upgrading and redevelopment of Wrexham Museum could include circa 200m2 of new gallery spaces on the first floor, together with an extension set out within the forecourt zones of 160m2. The existing glazed frontage could be modified to link the Grade II listed building with the proposed new infrastructure developed in the forecourt area, although there are no formal public plans.
It is anticipated that visitor numbers could rise to a target of 80,000 footfalls a year to the new football specific museum.
Steve Grenter, Heritage & Archives Lead at Wrexham Council, said: “We certainly welcome this news, and we’re very pleased that the Welsh Government has seen the potential of Wrexham Museum as the home of the Welsh Football Museum.
“Welsh football has gained no small amount of prominence in recent years thanks to the performance of the national team, so this has the potential to be not just a national attraction, but an international one.
“Wrexham has longstanding links with FAW”
Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear this news. Wrexham has a very proud, longstanding link with the FAW and it’s fantastic to know that legacy now has the potential to continue into the future with the Welsh Football Museum hopefully coming to Wrexham.
“The development of the Welsh Football Museum would also allow for the continued development of Wrexham Museum – it has always been the aim of the Museum to have some continued form of historical display on Welsh football, due to the strong role it has played in the history of Wrexham, and we would continue to display both in the best possible setting.
“Officers and representatives from Wrexham Council have been in discussions with Welsh Government and their consultants for quite some time, and have put in a lot of work to ensure this could all take place, and I wish to express my gratitude, and that of my Executive Board colleagues, to them.”
Top pic: the town’s museum earlier this week.
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