WREXHAM’S industrial heritage has the potential to turn it into a major tourist destination, it has been claimed.

Leading politicians have said that work being undertaken to attract people to the former Brymbo Iron and Steelworks site could also lead to the county being home to two World Heritage Sites.

In 2009 the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, designed by Thomas Telford, joined the likes of the Taj Mahal and Stonehenge on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list.

And Cllr Hugh Jones, an executive board member on Wrexham Council believes plans to turn the Brymbo Fossil Forest into a visitor attraction could attract the organisation’s interest again.

The forest, which was discovered on the former iron and steelworks site in 2003, has fossils dating back more than 300 million years.

Cllr Jones said: “The fossil forest is a phenomenal part of our heritage.

“I think it has the capability of being another World Heritage Site and it is of international standard.

“We know the value to the economy is £130m a year in terms of tourism.

“If you look at the pioneers from Wrexham around Brymbo, Minera Lead Mines and Pontcysyllte, they’re the people who were also involved in the Midlands.

“I think Wrexham could be said to be the birthplace to our industrial heritage.

“The potential, if we can only harness it, is huge for tourism.”

His comments were made as the council looks to launch its heritage strategy.

The local authority has been hit hard by funding cuts in recent years and museums have closed at Minera Lead Mines and Bersham Ironworks as a result.

However, the organisation is now looking to work with other bodies under the title of The Wrexham Heritage Partnership to push the strategy forward.

It follows the recent re-opening of the museum in Minera through working with Groundwork North Wales.

Cllr Jones said: “There’s a number of retail outlets who use the slogan ‘When it’s gone, it’s gone’ and I think that applies to our heritage.

“There are some of our industrial heritage buildings which are at risk.

“Some of the work we’ve been doing around Bersham is really sticking plaster work to try and keep the elements out so that we can hopefully get them back into use.

“Through working in partnership we are able to support people though, as we did with the Brymbo Heritage Trust to garner in Heritage Lottery Fund money.”

The strategy will be discussed by executive board members at a meeting next week.

They will be asked to approve setting up the new body, as well as undertaking an audit of key monuments to calculate the costs of keeping them up to standard.