‘Exciting’ £15m improvement plans for Pontcysyllte Aqueduct set to start this year
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Work worth £15m to transform visitor facilities at a World Heritage Site looks set to get under way later this year.
A total of £13.3m was awarded from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund in October to improve the area around the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Trevor, with £1.7m to come from other organisations.
It’s now been announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed between Wrexham Council and the Westminster government to allow the first phase of the proposals to progress.
The initial stage will result in the creation of a new welcome area to manage the high number of visitors to the aqueduct, which has caused parking and traffic problems at the Trevor Basin.
A rewilding project is also set to be carried out to restore ecosystems at a former industrial site, which links the basin to the village of Cefn Mawr.
Meanwhile, further work will take place to develop a woodland activity area and a new walking route.
Cllr Terry Evans, the local authority’s lead member for economy, said the plans would deliver several benefits for visitors and the surrounding communities.
In a report, he said: “This is an exciting, cross-county package bid, designed to maximise the potential of the post-Covid-19 visitor economy resulting from the health and wellbeing offer found at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site.
“Three coherent projects will ‘level-up’ the current deficiency of appropriate visitor infrastructure across heritage sites, which inhibits economic growth, wellbeing and prosperity otherwise expected from the presence of such internationally unique heritage and culture assets.
“The projects address access and connectivity within otherwise, constrained locations, which will help ensure equitability of opportunity for both local residents and visitors
“(Project one) focuses on the area within the red line boundary of the Trevor Basin masterplan and aims to raise the quality of visitor facilities and community connections so that it befits World Heritage Site status.
“Implementation of the Trevor Basin technical masterplan will ensure the World Heritage Site achieves its full potential on a national and international level to attract visitors and catalyse economic growth in neighbouring communities found in projects two and three.”
It’s expected work to create the woodland activity centre will start in October, while the construction of the arrival and parking area will begin in December.
The second stage of the scheme is designed to improve visitor facilities along the wider 11-mile section of the Llangollen Canal, including links to the town of Llangollen itself.
The final set of proposals will deliver investment in the new Corwen Railway Station to encourage tourism.
The report will be discussed by members of the council’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee at a meeting on Wednesday, March 2.
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