CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES visited the old Brymbo Ironworks plant to hear plans for a heritage project which campaigners believe could help bring 100,000 extra visitors to the area every year.
The Brymbo Heritage Group is behind the ambitious scheme to breathe new life into the derelict area, which could be kick-started if a planning application for housing at the southern tip of the site is approved by Wrexham County Borough Council on September 2.
If completed, the development could also see a supermarket built, a visitor centre created and run-down former workhouses renovated and brought back into use as business centres.
Labour AM Mr Skates, who has supported the project since before he was elected in 2011, said: “This is a fascinating plan which I feel very strongly about. It would breathe new life into a site of great importance and potential and would bring huge economic benefits to the area.”
The foundry closed in 1985, leaving a vast area of land for development along with listed and important historic buildings.
Mr Skates added: “I am currently working to help the heritage group get initial funding to preserve the derelict buildings on the site, which were badly damaged by heavy snowfall during the winter, before they fall into an irretrievable state of disrepair. The hope is that they can then be restored to their former glory and be used again.
“Ever since I first met members of the heritage group I have been impressed with their infectious enthusiasm for resurrecting this historic site, and I will do everything I can to help them realise their vision.”
Money from the sale of the first phase of homes – if approved next month – would release cash for landowners Brymbo Development to build a spine road through the site, which is key to getting the long-awaited project up and running.
Welsh Government Housing and Regeneration Minister Carl Sargeant visited the site with Mr Skates on Tuesday (August 20) to talk to volunteers and hear more about the proposals, and said he was impressed with the group’s vision and could see the potential benefits of the project to the whole community.
Brymbo Heritage Group spokesman Brian Stapley said the organisation is keen to preserve the site’s industrial history and would like to see it designated a World Heritage Site, similar to Ironbridge Gorge in Telford.
He said the group was grateful to Mr Skates for his continued support, adding: “We all thought that the meeting was positive and would like to pass on our thanks to all who attended for being supportive of Brymbo Heritage Group’s vision. We look forward to a positive result that will take us on to our next objective.”