Work to clear Wrexham landmark delayed

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

A MULTI-million-pound project to remove one of Wrexham’s industrial landmarks has been hit by delays.

In August 2010, the Welsh government overturned on appeal a decision by Wrexham Council to prevent the removal of tonnes of burned shale at the former Bersham Bank Colliery site in Rhostyllen, which overlooks the A483 Wrexham Bypass.

That gave the company involved, West Midlands-based Bersham (Glenside) Ltd (BGL), the green light to clear much of the site. Up to six million tonnes of spoil could be sold to the construction industry and will take between seven and nine years to remove.

At the time of the appeal decision BGL’s technical director Mike Killett said work on the multi-million-pound project could begin in three months but over a year later work has still to start, but Mr Killett says they remain committed to the project.

Mr Killett said: “Progress on the project is painstakingly slow but we can’t start work until all the technical details are agreed with Wrexham Council.

“There are a number of issues regarding health and safety, the environment and planning. For instance, we cannot clear trees on the site between March and September because of bird nesting.

“And although details of the major highway scheme have been accepted, we are now talking about the details of replacing a small wooden bridge over a brook just outside the site, which is pretty sub-standard and will not take wheelchairs.”

He added: “I would say we are now about six months behind schedule for starting the work to remove the shale.

“We are hoping to begin this side of Christmas. This is frustrating but we are still working at it and are totally committed to the project.”

The scheme will first see the removal of waste on the southern part of the site.
BGL is paying towards the cost of refurbishing the Grade II listed former winding house at the colliery, which closed in 1986 with the loss of 300 jobs.

The company will retain part of the tip near this building.

Also to be preserved is the tip headgear along with the building housing the baths, canteen and offices, which is also Grade II listed.

-  The site has been designated as ‘amenity land’, and BGL will prepare it for future development.

The site could eventually be replaced by homes and shops. A new passenger rail line and station created from rail sidings is also a possibility, and it would initially be used to transport equipment needed to carry out the multi-million pound development.

Mr Killett said: “It’s a strategic position on the outskirts of Wrexham and close to a major arterial road, the A483, so it has lots of potential as a residential and commercial development.”

See full story in the Leader

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