CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has helped author a new report calling for a new umbrella body to help promote Wales’ rich history.
The AM, who sits on the Assembly’s Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee, said the experience of trying to promote the Brymbo Ironworks in his constituency proved to him that change was needed in promoting Wales’ historic environment.
The report launched on Wednesday said opportunities to promote Welsh history weren’t being capitalised on because there isn’t a co-ordinated approach drawing together public sector organisations, third sector institutions such the National Trust and private sector companies.
As part of the fourteen recommendations contained in the report the Committee propose a new heritage body to help promote sites of historic interest similar to English Heritage which works with local groups across the border.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“Everyone loves the rich history of our historic environment, from our ancient castles to our celebrated aristocratic houses. However there is clearly a problem in how we protect and promote them across Wales, particularly smaller historic sites.
“In my own constituency I have seen the huge battle local groups have had to go to in trying to protect the Brymbo Ironworks buildings from decay and trying to do something creative to promote them as a site for tourism and education. They have battled hard to get their voice heard in a competitive environment for funding and support.
“At a time of stretched resources and tighter budgets, we need a more streamlined focus to how we protect our historic environment. We need a new body that can bring together and strengthen the various smaller local organisations and not-for-profit bodies, like the ones that exist in Wrexham, that are passionate about protecting their own history, but maybe lack the resources and support of a big national body.
“English Heritage do this just across the border and we think its now time to replicate something similar here in Wales. In particular I believe this would serve an area like North East Wales very well because it does not have the same sort of museum, exhibition and education site infrastructure that other parts of Wales has.
“However when you look around at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Canal World Heritage Site, Brymbo Fossilised Forest or Ironworks, you begin to see that with better coordination and a body capable of fighting their corner then these attractions could become a major focus for visitors and a real driver of the economy over the coming years.”
Notes to Editors:
Attached: Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee Report – Inquiry into the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Policy