A MULTI-MILLION pound bid to deliver a new Kop stand at Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground looks set to move forward.

Wrexham Council has prepared an application for up to £20m from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which supports regeneration and transport projects.

The local authority said the money would be used to pay for plans to transform Mold Road, which is one of the main routes into the town.

Around £25m has already been set aside by the Welsh Government to create a transport hub at Wrexham General railway station.

A further amount is now being sought from Westminster to allow the 5,000-seat stand to be built at the Kop end of the National League side’s ground, along with a four-star hotel and multi-storey car park nearby.

A conferencing and hospitality facility has also been suggested, with members of the council’s ruling executive board being asked to approve the funding bid at a meeting next week.

Steve Bayley, the authority’s chief officer for housing and economy, said it was hoped it would enable the stadium to be used to host Welsh international football and rugby matches.

Speaking at a media briefing held on Tuesday (June 1, 2021), he said: “The overall Wrexham Gateway project started out life as ‘how do we replace the Kop Stand?’ because we’ve been trying to work out how we do this since it was closed.

“I worked personally on the development of what is now the Hay’s Travel Stand back in the 90s and secured the funding for that.

“That was the first public sector grant to a private sector company in the history of the Sports Council of Wales, who gave £1m towards that stand which was incredible.

“If you can showcase international rugby, league or union, or international football, men’s or women’s game, you encourage participation and that’s all about healthy living as well.

“Plus, the stadium can be used for other things as we’ve seen if you’re into Lionel Richie.”

The £4.8 billion capital fund which the council is hoping to draw money from was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March to invest in local infrastructure across the UK.

The bid has received the backing of local MP Sarah Atherton, with Wrexham identified as one of three priority areas in north Wales.

All money provided through the fund has to be spent by March 31, 2024, which means the project is likely to move forward quickly if approved.

A separate bid has also been prepared to improve the area around the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which is located in the Clwyd South parliamentary constituency and is supported by the area’s MP Simon Baynes.

Mr Bayley said this would partly be used to manage the high level of visitors to the World Heritage Site, which has caused parking problems at Trevor Basin.

He said: “There have been some conflicts between the local community and visitors to the site.

“We got over half a million people coming to the site every year, so improving the way we manage visitors and relieve the pressure on local residents is really important as a starter for ten here.

“It’s one of the only World Heritage Sites that is open access.”

The overall masterplan for the site also includes proposals for a visitor centre, rewilding of some land, a treetops walk and the creation of of a campsite.

Executive board members will be asked to support the submission of the two bids at a meeting on Tuesday (June 8, 2021) to meet the UK Government deadline for submissions later this month.