Plans to improve visitor experience at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct move to next stage after being backed by councillors
Ambitious plans to increase the visitor experience at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site will now progress to the next stage after receiving unanimous backing from senior councillors.
The Trevor Basin Technical Masterplan 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.
Also including in the plans are 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.
The plans has been developed through a partnership between Wrexham Council, the Canal & River Trust and Solutia UK Ltd.
Speaking at today’s executive board meeting councillor Terry Evans, lead member for economic regeneration, said the plan provides a “clear strategy for the pieces of land surrounding the Basin to maximise the visitor experience and economy.”
He added: “A Masterplan will be a catalyst for transformation of the area through improved infrastructure, development and investment – as well as stimulating ideas, activities and opportunities not only in the Trevor Basin, but also the surrounding neighbouring communities.
“Endorsement here today will allow the strategic partners to push forward with the implementation plan and funding strategy with the further input of local stakeholders, which will bring the Masterplan to life and allow developments to proceed.
“I find this an exciting challenge and opportunity to put something in place for the children of tomorrow, for regeneration, tourism, economy, education and much needed jobs for years to come.”
The report was welcomed by deputy leader of Wrexham Council, councillor David Bithell, who described the World Heritage Site as the “jewel in the crown” of the county borough.
Cllr Bithell said: “I’m delighted that the work has progressed to bring a comprehensive masterplan to deliver a series of options which will hopefully address both the local concerns of the community and also address our aspirations for tourism in northeast Wales.
“This is an excellent opportunity for this council to support the delivery of the masterplan, working with the Canal and River Trust, working with our officers within the council, working with Denbighshire Council and working with the local community.”
Councillor Rondo Roberts, who represents the Llangollen Rural constituency, said that whilst he welcomes the masterplan, he remains “skeptical of the delivery due to the disappointments over the years.”
He called for clarity on when stage one of the development will be completed in the 15 year time frame and if the problems caused by the inadequate infrastructure can “be addressed with special dispensation measures.”
Cllr Roberts said: “Since being elected I’ve campaigned, you know quite quite hard for the major improvements in infrastructure on both sides of the monuments to due to the amount of visitors coming to Llangollen Rural to see the bridge.
“2.2 of the report states the visitor numbers and whilst this widely accepted that positive development is acknowledged, increased visitor numbers, if left unmanaged is having a negative impact on the local community – which it is. And that is a necessity to improve the existing insufficient visitor offers and infrastructure at Trevor Basin to meet the needs and expectations of the visitors.
“But I feel that it’s the local residents that have been let down in this at this time.”
Chief Executive Ian Bancroft said the next stage will be to secure funding for the masterplan and if successful the first initiatives could begin within the next two or three years.
Members of the executive board unanimously backed the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site Masterplan. The document will now progress to an implementation and delivery plan.
Top picture from the Trevor Basin Masterplan – you can read the document in this report.
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