AN ASSEMBLY member has welcomed news of a ‘fantastic’ funding boost for a volunteer-run restoration project to breathe new life into a derelict site.
Ken Skates, the Labour AM for Clwyd South, said he was delighted to hear Brymbo Heritage Group (BHG) has been awarded £43,000 to pay for emergency work to save run-down buildings at the village’s former steelworks, which closed in 1990.
Mr Skates said: “I understand Cadw has awarded the group £25,000 in addition to the £18,000 the Welsh Labour Government has pledged. This will enable the volunteers to carry out emergency work over the next month to save some of the weather-damaged buildings at the site from demolition. It’s absolutely fantastic news and it’s a just reward for the team’s hard work.”
Work to stabilise the run-down buildings is under way.
After immediate stabilisation work is carried out on the early-18th century Pattern Makers’?Workshop, the group will look to secure more funding for similar work on the adjacent buildings – all of which suffered extensive damage during last?winter’s heavy snow after more than 20 years of disuse.
The work is being completed by Wrexham firm Maelor Construction Ltd and will help ensure that the buildings can survive to be part of the group’s ambitious plans to see Brymbo Heritage Area formally established and developed as a visitor attraction, commercial centre and study base.
Group spokesman Brian Stapley said: “The Heritage Area will tell the story from fossils to coal, from iron to steel and from closure to rebirth, capturing a 300 million-year story that made Brymbo world famous and has the potential to do so once again.”
The proposed Heritage Area forms the north-western tip of the former steelworks site. An application for housing at the southern end was approved by Wrexham County Borough Council in September, with the aim that money from the sale of the first phase of homes will release cash for landowners Brymbo Developments Ltd to build a spine road through the site – which is key to getting the long-awaited project up and running.
Mr Stapley said he’s amazed by the progress the group is making, adding: “The last few years have brought us a great deal of support from partners like the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and Wrexham County Borough Council, and it’s so encouraging to receive financial support from CADW and the Welsh Government to help us turn another corner. This is a much-needed boost.”
Mr Skates added: “I share the group’s passion for this project and have been a supporter of it since before I was elected in 2011. It would breathe new life into a site of great importance and potential and could bring huge economic benefits to the area.
“I visited the site to discuss the plans last August and assured the team I would do my utmost to help secure this much-needed initial funding to preserve the derelict buildings before they fall into an irretrievable state of disrepair.
“I am thrilled to have been able to play a part in obtaining money from the Welsh Labour Government, and am extremely grateful to Cadw for their generous contribution. This will really get the ball rolling. I will continue to do everything I can to help the group realise their vision.”
Brymbo Heritage Group now has a freephone contact number – 0800 772 0981 – and would welcome new members and volunteers. Find out more at www.brymboheritage.co.uk.