Ambitious plans to boost visitor experience and tourism at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct set for next step
The next step in ambitious plans to increase the visitor experience at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site are set to be approved next week.
The proposals feature as part of the Trevor Basin Technical Masterplan, which has been created off the back of work undertaken by Wrexham Council, the Canal & River Trust and Solutia UK Ltd to improve the visitor experience at the site, and are now at the point of all relevant landowners coming together to progress the plans.
The document identifies key areas for development over the next 10 to 15 years, including land for mixed use development, a woodland activity and education centre, re-wilding the former manufacturing area of the site, car parking and a welcome centre.
It also includes a glamping / camping site, a treetop walk “Telfords Treetops” and the creation of a new footpath along the former railway viaduct, improvements to the Trevor Basin area and creation of a Dee River walk which would include a new bridge.
On Tuesday 10 November members of the council’s executive board will be asked to approve the document, which is seen as a catalyst for growth in the areas surrounding the Trevor Basin and wider economy.
Speaking earlier this week about the report, Wrexham Council Chief Executive Ian Bancroft told Wrexham.com: “The Masterplan gets us to the third option stage.
“The real emphasis is around increased length of stay, because we know in 2018 we had around 342,000 visits and that 85% of those stay around the aqueduct, and their length of stay is only about three quarters of an hour.”
“The real critical thing in the master plan is that we have a range of facilities and attractions that lengthen the stay of visitors. That includes things like a much better car parking and entrance centre, including a visitor centre, it includes the woodland activity centre, a camping and glamping area, tree tops walks and river walks.”
“The whole emphasis is around increasing the view of the aqueduct because it’s so spectacular when you’re on the aqueduct itself, but you don’t get many views back looking towards the aqueduct.
“So it’s all about creating series of activities and attractions that give you a greater sense of the presence that the aqueducts has on the river, including a River Bridge, as well.”
“It really is about maximising benefits for the local community as much as it is visitors, because if you think about it, we’re not necessarily putting an emphasis on increasing visitors numbers hugely, which is what causes some of the pressures.
“It’s more about the length of stay when they’re there, which is about investing in local businesses, whether that’s cafes, whether it’s restaurants, whether it’s shops.
“So there are real benefits for local community and local business here, that at the heart of this masterplan, as well as around tourism and visitors.
“I think it’s a really exciting masterplan. The key stage now is for the three landowners to sign it off, but that’s why we’re bringing it to the Executive Board.”
Cllr David A Bithell, deputy leader of Wrexham Council, highlighted the contribution from his colleague Cllr Rondo Roberts, and former councillor Pat Jeffers. He said: “Cllr Roberts has worked tirelessly with the Community Council and the Canal and River Trust to push push us as senior politicians and the chief executive to try and get this strategy up and running to support the local community. Although he’s had some concerns and doubts on the impacts that it does have on the local community.
“I know after speaking to him, he is supportive of the master plan. In fact, he would like he would like the master plan implemented tomorrow.”
Top picture from the Trevor Basin Masterplan – you can read the document in this report.
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