Brymbo Ironworks

Workshop to help community rescue historic Welsh ironworks

Members of the public are invited to take part in a community workshop organised by Brymbo Heritage Group (BHG), working jointly with the world-leading regeneration charity The Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT) to help shape the future of the historic Brymbo Ironworks in Wrexham.

BHG is trying to rescue the former steel works site’s industrial heritage for public use. PRT’s team will provide expert input and guidance and will chair the two-day planning workshop on Wednesday February 11 and Thursday February 12 at Brymbo Enterprise Centre in Blast Road, Brymbo, Wrexham. A public engagement meeting will be held at 6pm on Thursday February 12 at the same location.

PRT's involvement builds on the mentoring work done with the BHG as part of its three-year education programme BRICK, aimed at helping communities save cherished local buildings through training and mentoring.

First an iron works and later a thriving steel works, the Brymbo Ironworks employed almost 2,500 people at its peak. It closed in 1990 after almost two centuries of service, leaving a number of derelict buildings.

Several of the original 18th century properties still stand at the site as well as a number of Victorian industrial structures. In addition, a rare fossil forest was uncovered in 2005 that includes the remains of trees thought to be over 300 million years old.

BHG, which is made up of local residents and former workers, wants to open this fascinating place to the public as an industrial heritage centre and visitor attraction. It is keen to draw up a 10-year masterplan for the heritage area of the site which would propose the re-use of nine of the works’ old buildings. Alongside the heritage centre, new learning facilities, business units, shops, apartments and an open space are also being considered by BHG.

Since the Autumn of 2014, PRT has been supporting BHG to develop its ideas by providing one-to-one mentoring and holding consultation workshops with the wider community and other stakeholders.

Next month’s event will feature input from Biljana Savic, PRT’s Programme Director, a number of officers from Wrexham County Borough Council, local architects TACP and Byrom Clark Roberts, London and Cambridge-based 5th Studio and WSP’s Urban Design Director Andrew Cameron.

The aim by the end of the workshop is to have created a draft masterplan for the site to take the project forward.

From 6pm on the second day (Thursday), all members of the community are invited to come along, examine the proposals and ask questions.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of PRT, said: “We’re delighted to be assisting Brymbo Heritage Group with this masterplanning workshop – there are so many important buildings here with amazing potential to benefit and reinvigorate the areas in which they sit.

“This workshop will cover a wide range of topics - from housing and transport to delivery of the project and land ownership issues - to help the community group develop its vision for the site.

“I would urge members of the public to come along on Thursday February 12th to examine the proposals and ask questions about them.”

Mentoring support for BHG has been provided through PRT’s BRICK programme, which includes a networking website for community groups – www.BRICK-work.org.

For more information, go to the BHG website at www.brymboheritage.co.uk or visit the BRICK website at http://brick-work.org/projects/brymbo-heritage-area-1099750995/events/

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Brymbo Ironworks PRT workshop