Welsh Government announce £25m funding for station redevelopment & transport hub as ‘gamechanger’ gateway development progresses
The Wrexham Gateway project is a multi-million pound scheme which is set to transform one of the principle routes into Wrexham town centre, and is set to receive a financial boost.
The east side of the redevelopment will see major redevelopment of the site around the Wrexham General station, including commercial development and upgrades to the civic and amenity spaces.
Wrexham Council, Wrexham Glyndŵr University, The Mersey Dee Alliance and Welsh Government have been working in partnership on the Wrexham Gateway project to lay the ground since last year, and the Wrexham Gateway project is now set to receive up to £25 million backing from the Welsh Government.
Last summer, Welsh Government bought the former Dickens car showroom and surrounding land. Under the scheme, part of this will be utilised to support development surrounding the Racecourse Stadium.
Welsh Government also bought the former Country Stores premises opposite Wrexham General railway station. As part of the Wrexham Gateway project this plot will be used to help improve transport linkages and could provide space for new offices and homes.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said: “The £25m Welsh Government funding we are announcing today will be a huge boost to Wrexham. The plans for a public transport interchange at Wrexham General Station and for the Racecourse Ground in particular are incredibly exciting.
“I’m pleased to be able to announce this on the day the Minister for Economy, Transport, and North Wales, Ken Skates, publishes the Wales Transport Strategy as the funding will improve the public transport system in and around the town, giving an overall better experience for residents and visitors.
“It’s also a great day for football, sports and events fans as it will help to bring forward significant improvements to the Racecourse stadium. Wrexham AFC has had a great start to the year, with new owners for the club, and today’s announcement is even more positive news for this historic club.”
Wrexham.com understands the overall project is expected to require around £80m+ of investment with public and private money coming together to create the overall ‘vision’. There have been much documented desires to see a 5000 seater stand at the Racecourse stadium with conference facilities, along with a high quality hotel being built on the development. As is common in modern developments mixed use office blocks have also been referenced as part of the station side redevelopment plan, with office space on top of ground floor retail outlets.
Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham council and chair of The Mersey Dee Alliance said: “I would like to thank the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford, Ken Skates MS, Welsh Government and all the Partners in the Partnership for all the hard work and effort to date
“Although not much has visually changed on the ground yet, we’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes, moving the chess pieces into place, so we’re in a good position to start work when we receive the funding.
“Wrexham is a great place, and there’s a lot of excitement and optimism…not just about the football club and its new owners, but about the whole town in general.
Images produced late last year and seen by Wrexham.com reveal various options to what the overall project could look like, with a picture that will bring delight to local football fans with a new stand for the Racecourse. The image is one of several options being considered, some with a mix of conference and carparking below or near the stand and others with Crispin Lane seeing large redevelopment.
Wrexham’s Member of the Senedd Lesley Griffiths MS: “This announcement is a gamechanger and something everyone in Wrexham will support.”
“I have championed this development for a very long time. I know an incredible amount of work has taken place over a number of years to get to this stage and the Welsh Government, along with its local partners, deserve great credit.”
“Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, there has always been a determination to deliver something truly special. This flagship project will have a transformative effect on the town and, coupled with the Wrexham AFC takeover, there are certainly exciting times ahead.”
Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndŵr University said: “It’s a big project that will take time to deliver, but it would be a genuine game-changer for Wrexham and the wider area.
The ambitious Wrexham Gateway Partnership proposals dovetail perfectly with our own Campus 2025 masterplan, which we are already delivering. It’s important that the partnership keeps pushing things forward-helping make Wrexham an even better place to live, visit, work and study.”
At the most recent Executive Board meeting of Wrexham Council Mark Pritchard, the Leader of the Council, took a positive sounding “Wrexham Gateway – Delivery Plan” was discussed in Part 2 secrecy due to commercial confidentiality. As is usual a hint of what was discussed can be discovered in the decision notices, that state a revised ‘Masterplan’ was endorsed to guide a “mixed use development site at this key gateway”, a project delivery partner/project manager looks likely to be appointed with the council putting in £50k funding on top of existing commitments.
The statement also makes public the ownership exploration by the council themselves, who are weighing up the pros and cons of acquisition of land involved in the project area, which would “secure public ownership and to provide the Council with a tangible stake in the future regeneration of the Wrexham Gateway”, and compulsory purchase powers could also be used.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS, said: “Any investment into the capital of north Wales is very welcome and this is a step in the right direction.
“However, Welsh Government funding to regenerate the main gateway into Wrexham is long overdue and this is the latest in a long line of vague promises dating back over two decades to develop the Racecourse.
“We’ve been promised this development time after time by successive Labour governments and we’re now asked to believe that a major but unspecified investment is forthcoming with just six weeks to go before a vital election. Plaid Cymru’s advocacy of a redeveloped Racecourse with proper Welsh Government funding has been long-standing and consistent. Labour has had to be dragged to the table on this matter by the fans, the football club and other local partners. I was proud to host an information session for members in the Senedd where directors of both Glyndwr University and Wrexham AFC presented their vision for the Racecourse in October 2017. It’s great that we’re seeing progress on that vision for the town but it’s long overdue. Wrexham deserves far better than this.”
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