North East Wales

Wrexham 'masterplan' to regenerate town

Queen's Square, Wrexham Image copyright Wrexham County Borough Council
Image caption The future for Queen's Square in Wrexham? A bid to revamp it is part of the council's 'masterplan' for the town

A "masterplan" to improve Wrexham town centre has been adopted by the local authority.

The plan lists regeneration priorities, including making it more attractive to visitors, and encouraging town centre living.

It focuses on areas like Queen's Square, which hosts the town's outdoor market, and Bodhyfryd - home to the town's Waterworld leisure centre.

The plan will become part of wider development plans for Wrexham.

It was approved by councillors during a meeting on Tuesday.

"Change has to be needed because Wrexham stagnated a little bit over the last few years," said Neil Rogers, a member of the council's executive board.

"What we are trying to do is to attract private sector investment as well. The council can't pay for it - it is virtually impossible."

The authority recently won almost £11m in a bid to help kick-start regeneration projects in the town, through the Welsh Government's Vibrant and Viable Places scheme.

That cash is being used to develop plans for a cultural arts hub in the town centre, as well as bringing empty shopping areas back into public use.

It will also be used to redevelop the brownfield Bridge Street site over the coming three years.

Image copyright Wrexham County Borough Council
Image caption One theme is how the town can best attract visitors

All those themes play into the latest masterplan, which lists its priorities as:

  • Improving town centre identity
  • Improving the visitor experience
  • Improving accessibility
  • Improving the evening economy
  • Providing opportunities for town centre living
  • Making the town centre 'greener'

Dr Jan Green, senior lecturer at Glyndwr University's North Wales Business School in Wrexham, said challenges for Wrexham included improving transport links to bring people into the town, and then competing with the nearby English city of Chester.

"It's attracting vibrant businesses, a range of businesses, and saying to people in Wrexham: 'What do you need and will you do your shopping here?' she said.

"Perhaps provisions - routine types of shopping - maybe Wrexham should focus on that. If people are looking for more, shall I say, exclusive items, then maybe you do need to go to a larger city, where that choice is always going to be really more diverse.

"So Wrexham needs to focus on local produce, local businesses and what's attractive to the day-to-day shopper."

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