New consultation date into future development plans at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

A public consultation into future development around the canal World Heritage Site at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct continues.

Two consultation events were scheduled before Christmas but one had to be cancelled due to snow and bad weather.

A new event to be held on Monday, January 22 replaces the session planned for December 11 and will be held at Cefn Mawr, George Edwards Hall, from 10am-3.30pm.

The Canal and River Trust, Wrexham Council and Solutia UK Ltd are working with global design consultancy Arcadis and a range of stakeholders on the Trevor Basin Area Masterplan.

This will identify opportunities for tourism and economic regeneration at Trevor Basin, next to the aqueduct, and nearby communities of Trevor, Froncysyllte, Acrefair, and Cefn Mawr.

The trust cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s waterways, including the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal.

Solutia UK Limited owns 59 hectares (147 acres) of land within the masterplan study area. This includes former manufacturing and warehousing sites, plus 25 hectares (61 acres) of fields and woodlands adjacent to the World Heritage Site and along the River Dee.

Suggestions include a new visitor centre and visitor experience, extra car parking and new footpaths and cycleways.

Improved signage, recreation of historic transport routes and enhanced infrastructure for business boating customers and private boaters, as well as tree management to enhance views and creation of new habitat/green space on former industrial land are also being considered.

The study area boasts a challenging mix of land uses from brownfield sites left vacant after the closure of chemical and brick manufacturing industries to an internationally-important canal tourist destination.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal World Heritage Site, inscribed in 2009, currently attracts 250,000-300,000 visitors a year and has potential to bring more jobs and economic prosperity to the area.

The first stakeholder meeting was held at Trevor in June, when suggestions were made for a new visitor centre and canal basin next to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a treetop pathway, improved cycling and walking routes, nature walks, leisure activites such as glamping, and extra car and coach parking.

Plans for an extra temporary car park while the masterplan is developed have just been approved by Wrexham Council.

Stuart Mills, chief investment officer with the Canal and River Trust, said: “Everyone is invited to give their views and offer ideas for the future of this historically important site.

“We had some great suggestions from our first public consultation session at Trevor community centre and look forward to hearing more at Cefn Mawr. Our World Heritage Site is on an equal international footing with the Pyramids and Stonehenge. People travel from all over the world to see the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen Canal, and we want to ensure they have a world class experience when they get here.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners from Solutia UK Ltd and Wrexham County Borough Council, and our consultants Arcadis to develop a deliverable strategic masterplan for this area and we are very interested to hear the views of local people.”

Cllr Hugh Jones, chair of the World Heritage Site board and deputy leader of Wrexham Council, added: “This is a great opportunity for local communities and residents to have a positive input into the regeneration opportunities being looked at for land surrounding the World Heritage Site to help further boost the tourism economy of Wrexham.”

Anyone unable to attend the consultation events is invited to register their views online at www.pontcysyllte-aqueduct.co.uk.

All the feedback will be reviewed and an appraisal carried out before a preferred option is produced for further consultation in late spring.

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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