Police could set up satellite station in Wrexham library


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

NORTH Wales Police could set up a satellite station in a library after councillors voted to allow negotiations to begin over lease terms.

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

The recommendation to negotiate terms with police to take over the library facility formed part of a report considering an 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, North Wales Police (NWP) needs possession of the site by March next year with the aim of being operational there by November 2016.

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the recommendations at a Wrexham Council executive board meeting yesterday.

Any income generated from leasing the facility to NWP will be used to reinvest in the new town centre arts hub.

Cllr Hugh Jones 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 across Wrexham county borough.

Concerns were raised about the suitability of the proposed library location for the police.

Cllr David Kelly questioned why a new town centre base could not be built on the site of the current police station after its demolition.

But Cllr Jones said North Wales Police had considered seven different locations before settling on the library as its preferred choice. 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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