This article is old – Publication: Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Ambitious plans to improve the visitor experience at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage site could be significantly strengthened if an offer from the UK government for the leveling fund is accepted.
The Wrexham Council Board of Directors is set to approve the submission of two nominations for the UK Government’s ‘Upgrade Fund’, which are based on the Wrexham Gateway project and developments in and around the site of the world heritage of Pontcysyllte.
In March 2021, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £ 4.8 billion investment program for ‘investing in high-value local infrastructure’, who explained of the fund: ‘It is also designed to help local areas select real local investment priorities by putting the support of local stakeholders, including the local MP where they want to get involved, at the heart of its mission.
Two offers of up to £ 20million can be submitted for each entire parliamentary constituency. For the Wrexham County Borough this includes one for Wrexham and one for Clywd South in partnership with Denbighshire County Council.
Wrexham Council said discussions have taken place with the two MPs, in line with funding guidelines and the priority identified by Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham, is to secure funding to advance key elements of the master plan. approved for the Wrexham footbridge (more here)
The priority identified by Simon Baynes MP for South Clwyd is to secure funding for infrastructure development within the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (WHS) World Heritage Site, with Denbighshire County Council .
Wrexham Deputy Head of Council David A Bithell said: “One of Simon Baynes’ priorities is to explore how to develop and improve the infrastructure around the Trevor Basin and improve the overall experience there. and our world heritage site.
“We are also working with the Denbighshire Council, which also submits part of its tender. These are really tight deadlines, to submit these offers, the agents worked tirelessly to get them in. They are still working on the financial details, as we speak, ready to present the offers by June 18. ”
The previously released master plan includes a campsite / campsite, a ‘Telfords Treetops’ treewalk and the creation of a new trail along the old railway viaduct, improvements to the Trevor Basin area and the creation of ‘a walk on the River Dee which would include a new bridge.
Wrexham Council Housing and Economics General Manager Steve Bayley explained the elements of the offer: “The master plan itself has been widely consulted in the locality, so he is developing elements of that plan. director. There are projects around rewilding, visitor center, activity and education zones in the woods, river Dee walks, public domain and investments. The key element for this at this stage is also the movement and management of visitors. There have been conflicts between the local community and site visitors, over half a million people come to the site each year. So improve the way we deal with visitors. and relieving the pressure on local residents is really important as a starting point here, and that’s what we’re doing.
Speaking of the challenges of the site, he added: “It is one of the only open access World Heritage sites. If you think of Wales you have the castles you have to pay to enter and you have a captive audience you go through a gate, a turnstile you pay, if you go to Blaenavon the ‘big pit’ you pay , you enter. Here you can just walk to the 11 mile site. So how do you capture the income generated by this for the benefit of the local community? This is one of the things that we are trying to sort out, so if you can focus visitors on a particular locality, where they park and also have visitor interpretation centers, and you have places where you can often take the money, then is recycled in the local community and takes advantage of us to have a world heritage site, which is part of it.
Cllr Bithell added: “I want to officially thank Steve and his officers, Ian Bancroft (CEO of Wrexham Council) and Head of Council Mark Pritchard, who have worked really hard over the last few months with Sarah. Atherton MP and Simon Baynes MP to submit these offers.