Posted: Wed 6th Mar 2024

‘Sunshine on Wrexham’ as final agreements ‘ready’ to get Kop funding live for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 6th, 2024

The leaders of Wrexham Council were fizzing with enthusiasm over the prospect of the public/private funding partnership around the Kop redevelopment finally getting over the line.

A detailed update back in September saw the football club explain how a grant funding agreement from Wrexham County Borough Council needed to be finalised and the club satisfied that the conditions attached to the funding offer could be fulfilled.

We recently reported the comments from Wrexham AFC Executive Director Humphrey Ker who indicated although Heads of Terms had not yet been signed the ‘objective is still to get started end of the season’ on the landmark Kop redevelopment, and the club had not “quite crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s”.

Previously reported conditions of the terms included the now agreed in principle ‘collapse’ of the Wrexham Supporters Trust lease, and “confirmation of the requirements to meet UEFA’s Category 4 stadium status” with other details noting that ‘viability’ should be assured for annual FA of Wales games to be held at the Racecourse all being part of the objective of the public financial support.

Yesterday we enquired with the top operational and political leadership at Wrexham Council on the status of the £17m public funding from the council point of view.

Chief Executive Ian Bancroft said, “The heads of terms were agreed a considerable amount of time ago. What hasn’t been completed is the final legal agreement. It is ready for final checks and signing, so we will wait for that to come back.

“It’s with the football club to sign that off and then that will trigger release of funding.

“We are in a position of waiting for completion of the final legal contract, not the heads of terms, which has already been agreed.”

Council Leader Mark Pritchard said, “We politically supported the football club and we made that political decision to award monies towards the club, I stand by it. What is happening around the football club, but also the regeneration of that area, is fantastic.

With the destination of public money being a very hot topic locally, as well as at Governments and councils elsewhere, we pointed to departments in Wrexham Council being challenged to find 14% cuts and if Rob and Ryan should be expected to take a similar haircut in terms of public contributions – although noted the sum is a capital project, compared to the revenue cuts locally.

Chief Exec Ian Bancroft added, “The capital funding comes from two sources. It comes from a Welsh Government grant that we received specifically for the Wrexham Gateway and then it comes from private sector funding.

“The capital funding in place is specific for that purpose. It is not the council’s capital funding.

“We made an agreement a year ago, and it is important that we remain consistent with that agreement that we put in place. It is a major regeneration project for Wrexham, the Gateway as a whole, including the football ground. We think the economic impacts it has are considerable in terms of seeing that through to fruition.

“So, we remain committed, the funding is specific for that purpose.

Council Leader Mark Pritchard said, “Me personally, and this is just me, I wish we would have had some more money to give them, I would have supported that too. Because I think what they’re doing with the football club, and everything around it is fantastic for Wrexham, for North Wales and for Wales as a country.

“I mean, you’ve only got to look at Wrexham, it has become a global brand. Now, anything that happens in Wrexham is a story for obvious reasons.

“I can’t thank the owners enough for what they’ve done and they’re continuing to support, to work with us in partnership, to take Wrexham forward. It is fantastic.”

“We are going to have an international stadium there, with internationals held there.

“It has been a delight to work with the owners of the football club, because I remember the bad times that we had, and some of the previous owners. The football club has been through a difficult journey, and there is a lot of sunshine now on Wrexham. It is fantastic for the football club, and I really want them to achieve all their aspirations, to take Wrexham and the football club forward.

“It is money well spent. I’ll repeat it, if we could have given them more I would have.”

Mr Bancroft added, “The funding described is the public element, and is going into the international elements of the ground and also making it a regional event stadium for North Wales – it will cover the Northwest as well – with the private money going in to enhance the football club elements.

“That has always been the principle around public money going into what are more public related elements, private money going into what are more private related elements.

“The partnership with the football club is really important, having a strong partnership, relationship, and celebrating the ownership of the club and what it’s doing – but also remaining appropriate in terms of how we invest publicly. We have worked really hard to get that balance right.”


(Top pic: Lads at Guildhall)

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