PLANS for Wrexham to become home to a new Welsh football museum are set to take a step forward next week.

Around 80,000 visitors are expected to flock to the town each year once proposals to showcase Wales’s football heritage at the existing Wrexham Museum are completed.

The Welsh Government has already acknowledged it as being the most suitable location for such a museum following an independent study.

The local authority’s ruling independent and Conservative administration is now set to discuss moving to the next stage by appointing architects to design the upgraded building.

Executive board members will also be asked to allow the council to enter negotiations with the Welsh Government and apply for lottery funding to support the development when they meet on Tuesday, July 9.

Deputy leader Hugh Jones said it was a positive move, which acknowledged the town’s own footballing history as the place where the Football Association of Wales was first established in 1876.

He said: “Effectively, the recognition is that Wrexham Museum is the right location to create a national football museum.

“We’ve now had the go ahead from the Welsh Government to move to stage three.

“What that effectively means is we’ll be appointing a team of specialised architects and designers.

“They will then look at the existing building, what is needed and how the football museum can be accommodated within an expanded museum, while still respecting the heritage of the building.

“It’s really good news for Wrexham and it recognises the football heritage of Wrexham town.”

The council says the museum will attract more visitors and extra money into Wrexham’s economy.

It is also hoped that it will help to safeguard the future of the existing museum on Regent Street.

The football related displays are expected to be housed on the mostly unused first floor of the building, with enlarged local displays on the ground floor.

The Welsh Government has made a total of £10 million worth of capital funding available to enable the development of the football museum and a new contemporary arts facility elsewhere in the country.

Cllr Jones said the council would also look at additional ways to generate income from the museum to cover staffing costs.

He said: “Until we get to the next stage, we won’t know the final capital figures, but there are revenue implications.

“That’s why we’re looking at other means of funding, because we will need to increase our staff.

“Already, we’ve got the cafe which is hugely successful and we need to find a way of expanding it.

“There’s also potential for the shop, as when you go to any of these national museums they have one.”