Posted: Thu 10th Jun 2021

Wrexham Gateway project hailed as ‘fantastic news’ as councillors back submission of £18.3m funding bid for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Plans to transform one of the main gateways into Wrexham have been hailed as “fantastic news” for the town.

It follows senior councillors backing the submission of an £18.3m bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund to drive the scheme forward.

One of the main developments along Mold Road would see a 5,000-seat stand built at the Kop end of Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground, along with a four-star hotel and multi-storey car park nearby.

A conferencing and hospitality facility has also been suggested as part of proposals to boost the area’s economy.

Around £25m has already been set aside by the Welsh Government to create a transport hub at Wrexham General railway station.

It’s hoped the latest bid for money from Westminster will unlock a further £7m to be injected into the project by the private sector.

Discussing the application at a meeting held Tuesday, Wrexham Council leader Mark Pritchard said: “There’s been a lot of work done on this in the background for a long time.

“If you have a look at this bid, you’re looking at infrastructure improvements on the A483 and at the university, who are going to spend substantial money on their campus.

“Then you’ve got the football club and a new stand of a minimum of 5,000 seats.

“Behind that you’ve got a conference centre and behind that you’ve got the railway infrastructure, which is going to be addressed by the Welsh Government.

“Then behind that you’ve got an area of land which we’re hoping to develop and it’s fantastic news for Wrexham.”

If the application is approved, money will be provided via a £4.8 billion capital fund announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March to invest in local infrastructure across the UK.

Wrexham has been identified as one of three priority areas in north Wales and the gateway bid has been backed by Sarah Atherton, who was elected as the town’s first ever Conservative MP in 2019.

All money provided through the fund must be spent by March 31, 2024, which means the project is likely to move forward quickly if successful.

Executive board members also supported a separate application for £10.2m from the same pot to improve the area around the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Trevor.

Cllr Pritchard said: “We’re very fortunate in Wrexham to have a fantastic World Heritage site.

“We really haven’t had the money to take forward to meet our aspirations with the World Heritage site, but now we have the opportunity.”

One of the main aims of the scheme is to manage the high level of visitors to the aqueduct, which has caused parking problems at Trevor Basin.

The wider masterplan for the site also includes proposals for a visitor centre, rewilding of some land, a treetops walk and the creation of of a campsite.

Both bids were unanimously backed by members of the executive board to be submitted to the UK Government ahead of next week’s deadline.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

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