Wrexham library space may be base for police


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A PROMINENT gallery in a library could be used as a future base by North Wales Police when the force completes its planned move to new headquarters.

The current police headquarters in Bodhyfryd, Wrexham, is due to be demolished, with the force set to move to a new facility in Llay in 2016.

And a Wrexham Council report released yesterday states the Oriel Wrecsam space within Wrexham Library could be leased to North Wales Police (NWP) for use as an “in-town facility” after the switch.

The recommendation to negotiate terms with police to take over the facility is part of a report considering the opportunity to develop a new arts and cultural hub in Wrexham town centre to replace the Oriel Wrecsam arts and cultural base.

The report said the Oriel Wrecsam space was “not suitable” for the council’s proposed new art gallery hub – but was “an ideal location” for a future town centre police base.

If the move goes ahead, NWP need possession of the site by March next year with the aim of being operational there by November 2016.

The proposed move will be discussed at a Wrexham Council executive board meeting on Tuesday.

And if recommendations are approved, income generated from leasing the facility to NWP will be used to reinvest in the new town centre arts hub.

The report said: “The council has had a long-standing vision to create a gallery that will be a hub for cultural and creative activity in the visual and applied arts in Wrexham County Borough.

“There have been previous plans to redevelop facilities at the existing location (Oriel Wrecsam) and in other locations, none of which have come to fruition.

“The options appraisal concluded that the existing location is not suitable to achieve the council’s vision both in terms of the strategic criteria and ability to deliver.

“Development of an alternative site will result in the existing Oriel accommodation becoming vacant.”

And it is hoped any proposed new arts and cultural hub could be up and running by January 2017.

If the police timescales are approved, the current arts service would have a “transitional period” where it would operate peripatetically across the county between the Oriel closing and the new hub getting started.

Possible locations for the new cultural hub are not detailed in the report.

But the Arts Council of Wales has agreed to provide a 75 per cent funding contribution to enable the council to undertake an options appraisal and feasibility study between July and November 2014.

The initial work will identify the preferred location within the Town Centre while stage two will work up further operational details and building sketch designs and costings for the hub.

See full story in the Leader

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