RESIDENTS will get to have their say on what happens with Wrexham’s Memorial Hall.
Wrexham Council is currently considering the future of the facility having received the results of a feasibility study undertaken to gauge the long-term viability of the building.
But any progress towards delivery of this project hinges on the council securing external funding from other sources.
At this month’s meeting of Wrexham Council’s ruling Executive Board, members of the committee agreed to consult with the public on any plans for the site.
Located off Chester Street in the city centre, the Memorial Hall is part of a collection of civic buildings there which include the magistrates court and Waterworld.
It was built in 1956 specifically to commemorate those who died in the Second World War. It has since become home to several memorials and plaques, both inside and outside the hall building, and is central to Remembrance Day events.
But since before the Covid-19 pandemic the Memorial Hall experienced reduced activities and use, which has led to a reduction in its income.
It also faces increased competition from more modern venues or from similar buildings which have updated their facilities.
In February consultants were appointed to provide feasibility and design advice for the building, funded through the Welsh Government’s ‘Transforming Towns’ programme.
Introducing a report to the Executive Board, council leader and lead member for finance Esclusham Cllr Mark Pritchard (Ind), said it was “one of the most important development projects Wrexham has ever brought forward”, and that consultation had taken place with the Armed Forces.
“We understand the history, the heritage, the passion and what that Memorial Hall and the memorials represent”, Cllr Pritchard said.
Everything they (the Armed Forces) wanted we believe we’ve put into this piece of work and they are in full support of taking things forward.
“This is the most important report I’ve taken forward because of the history, the heritage and the fallen who paid the ultimate sacrifice and never came back.
“It would be fantastic if we leave a legacy for future generations.”
He added that at a workshop involving councillors there was full support from across the political spectrum.
Lead member for economy and regeneration, Gwenfro Cllr Nigel Williams (Ind) said it was an opportunity to create a new large-scale events space in the city.
“Wrexham has a proud heritage with the Armed Forces, especially the Royal Welch”, he said.
“There’s also a huge gap in Wrexham for event space to cater for the size of events in the future.
“If this plan does come to fruition in a few years then we’ll have another fantastic building in Wrexham to be proud of and hopefully it’ll be filled most weekends with events which would be great to see.”
Ruabon Cllr Dana Davies (Lab) asked whether there was an opportunity for plans to be opened up to public consultation.
“If we can bring this project to fruition I think it would be a very exciting project for Wrexham”, she said.
“It’s the only place in Wrexham you can host over 300 guests. Seeing that building really brought back to its potential and somewhere that’s right in the centre of our civic quarter is really exciting.”
Cllr Pritchard said he would be more than happy to see it go out to public consultation and put that forward as a recommendation.
The feasibility study has recommended a series of categories for the council to look at if it goes forward with the project:
- An Educational programme with the Armed Forces Covenant.
- A cultural programme of events, festivals and activities.
- Opportunities for social and community well-being.
- A space where Wrexham businesses can meet and network, including an improved café area.
- Joint marketing initiatives and campaigns with other city centre attractors that leads to a cohesive message.
The Executive Board agreed to the inclusion of a public consultation as the project moves forward, with further discussion on it taking place behind closed doors to the exclusion or press and public.