Posted: Tue 11th Jun 2024

Former steelworks site set for shop, cafe and exhibition space for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Plans to create a shop, cafe and exhibition space at a former Wrexham steelworks have been given the go ahead.

An application was submitted in September last year to transform a historic building at Brymbo steelworks, which closed in 1990.

It forms part of efforts by former workers and local history enthusiasts to turn the site into a major visitor attraction, also celebrating its past as an ironworks.

Brymbo Heritage Trust, which is behind the proposals, has secured millions of pounds worth of lottery funding to realise its ambitions.

A key part of the development is to rejuvenate the 1920s machine shop building by turning it into an exhibition space.

The scheme has now been approved by Wrexham Council, alongside a separate application to refurbish and change the use of a former agent’s house and pattern shop to provide further visitor facilities.

Documents submitted alongside the machine house proposals state: “The proposal is to bring the machine shop back into sustainable use, whilst taking care to preserve its industrial past and character.

“It will become the visitor welcome and interpretation centre which includes a reception point and heritage exhibition.

“The building will also support a heritage skills learning facility and workshop, flexible events/activities space, and provide a number of rentable office and workshop spaces.

“More visitor provisions may be provided such as a visitor refreshment area.”

One of the main attractions included in the wider regeneration plans is a fossil forest, which is believed to date back 300 million years.

The fossilised trees were discovered at the site in 2003 during opencast mining and have been awarded special protection due to their national significance.

The land is owned by Brymbo Developments Ltd, which has already built hundreds of houses on the surrounding area.

The statement adds: “The Brymbo heritage area, which is located at the north-western edge of the steelworks site, has always been viewed as a key component of the wider masterplan developed by land owners Brymbo Developments Ltd (BDL).

“(It has) potential to attract higher value businesses and housing and provide a stimulus for investment in high quality public realm and facilities.

“The workshop will be well equipped for experiencing and learning heritage and mechanical skills. This will provide a good base for the local area to share skills.”

The approval of both sets of proposals is detailed in decision notices published on the council’s website earlier this week.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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