Western Gateway Project
The Western Gateway is a long-term development project driven by the Council, in partnership with other organisations.
Its long-term objective is to build-out Wrexham Technology Park into its third phase, focussing on businesses that can help drive the Wrexham economy and make it more sustainable through, for example, the creation of new and better-paid jobs. It is likely that it will also deliver a significant number of new high quality homes.
In the shorter-term, it aims to deliver a number of road and footpath improvements, referred to as the ‘primary infrastructure works’. These include the creation of a new road junction, pedestrian footpath and cycleway on Croesnewydd Road; a new road junction on Ruthin Road in the west; and a new spine road linking the two new junctions through the Western Gateway site; this will open up the whole site for development.
The intention is for the Western Gateway to become a flagship scheme. The most pioneering aspect of it will be its development as a ‘green’ or ‘eco’ business park with the focus on sustainability and high environmental credentials. This focus will apply to the whole site from design to construction, to end use including the roads, buildings, drainage and, potentially, even the main power supply. In these difficult economic times, this presents a significant challenge but the Council is determined to set an example in this field in order to contribute towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
A Snapshot Of The Project's Aims
- An exemplar low carbon project with the highest standards of energy efficient design.
- A CEEQUAL Excellent Award for Best Practice in its primary infrastructure.
- 35 acres of new business park with BREEAM Excellent offices
- 18 acres of new sustainable housing.
- A new spine road & two new junctions enhancing vehicular access to and from the Technology Park/Hospital.
- The improved functioning of the A483 interchange.
- Improved pedestrian access between the residential areas and the Technology Park/Hospital.
- A new wildlife and recreation corridor to Wrexham Town Centre.
- A Combined Cooling Heat & Power (CCHP) Plant.
The Project's Achievements To Date
The project has been in development for a number of years. Work, to date, has concentrated on the following areas.
- The acquisition of land from various third parties to enable the project to proceed.
- Facilitating the development of the residential community by Redrow Homes.
- Working with the Welsh Assembly Government to understand how to develop the site in a low carbon manner.
- The creation of a ‘Sustainability Masterplan’ for the site to ensure that the site is comprehensively and sustainably developed.
- Ensuring that the ecology of the site, ie the plants and animal life, is safeguarded before development commences.
- Finding a temporary use for the site until work starts to ensure that the land does not become under-utilised and/or neglected.
- The design of the primary infrastructure works.
- Sourcing funding to implement the primary infrastructure works: the total estimated cost is approximately £11 million.
Community & Stakeholder Involvement
In the early years of the project, before the residential areas were built, a number of meetings were held with local businesses to inform them about the project and address any concerns and issues, specifically with respect to the primary infrastructure works; at that time, these were the responsibility of Redrow Homes.
Many thoughts, and some concerns, were expressed at these events particularly about the impact of construction works on the traffic management system in and around the site. These were noted and have formed part of the Council’s considerations when designing the scheme.
At this time, the Council also assigned a designated Business Advisor, Mike Bather, to Wrexham Technology Park. Mike continues to act in this business support role and can be contacted by local businesses.
The master planning work, as a major piece of technical study, engaged a wide range of professional stakeholders, selected on the basis of their ability to influence the Masterplan’s technical considerations, eg. the Design Commission, the Environment Agency Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Countryside Council for Wales.
Local Members were also involved as well as local organisations such as Wrexham Sustainability Forum, Yale College, Glyndwr University and the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Sharp Manufacturing at Llay also participated; Sharp is the largest assembler in Europe of photovoltaic panels (solar cell modules) and it was felt that they could influence discussions on how to develop the site with renewable energy.
The Western Gateway Masterplan was completed in October 2007. It aims to provide an illustrative direction to the site’s future development and is promotional in nature. If you wish to view a copy of the Masterplan, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The project is now entering a new phase of community and stakeholder involvement as work begins to move on site. The project team is keen to get the local community involved, particularly local schools. If you have any ideas as to how this could be done, please let us know.
The Recession And Its Impact On The Project
As with many capital regeneration and construction projects across the country, the scheme has suffered with the onset of the recession: funding has been the main issue. Timescales have therefore had to slip and the project has suffered some delay.
New funding has now been sourced for the implementation of the highway and pedestrian improvements to Croesnewydd Road Junction – at the location of the existing road bridge over the old railway line - as the first phase of the primary infrastructure works.
Building Croesnewydd Road Junction and A Vital Pedestrian Link
The Croesnewydd Road Junction will replace the current road bridge with a four-leg ground-level road junction that will incorporate a new footpath and cycleway and create a new permanent link to the hospital car park. This is being designed by the Council’s in-house Engineering Consultancy.
This junction does not require planning permission as it can be completed alongside the existing highway land.
It has a 20-week build period. However, these works are subject to the availability of funding and cost at the tender stage. While the new junction is constructed, the existing highway will remain open. This will reduce the impact on the highway network.
This will be completed largely on the Council’s own residential land, east of Croesnewydd Road. Construction works started in July 2012 and are likely to be finished in early 2013.
What is CEEQUAL?
The Council is working towards a CEEQUAL Excellent Award for the design and construction of the Croesnewydd Road Junction.
CEEQUAL is the ‘Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Awards Scheme’.
By promoting environmental and social ‘best practice’ and measuring performance in these areas, CEEQUAL is a tool that can assist significantly in the drive for more sustainable development and construction.
We welcome your views and ideas
If you are interested in knowing more about the project, wish to share any ideas with us, we would like to hear from you.