WREXHAM AFC's Strategic Advisor to the Board has revealed that the Levelling Up fund rejection came as a 'hammer blow' to the club's re-development plans for the new Kop.

Last week, the club said it was "time for Plan B" after missing out on UK Government Levelling Up funding for the Kop development.

The club added that it was "disappointed" to learn that Wrexham Council’s application for financial support for the project had been rejected.

The financial support would have come in the form of the Wrexham Gateway Project.

After securing £25 million in Welsh Government funds for the regeneration of the area around the train station, Wrexham Council hoped to land UK Government Levelling Up funding for the western side of the project - which is the Kop stand football ground redevelopment. That includes groundworks for a hotel, potential conference facilities and also car parking. 

Wrexham AFC Strategic Advisor to the Board Shaun Harvey described the funding rejection as a 'hammer blow', during his appearance on the Rob, Ryan, Red Podcast this week.

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Speaking on the 'Shaun of the Red' episode, Mr Harvey said: "We had got all permission we needed to be able to take the Kop forward. When it does appear, it will have five-and-a-half-thousand seats which will all be used.

"Everything was going great and then obviously we had the news that broke last Wednesday that the UK Government had chosen to overlook Wrexham Council's application for financial support from the Levelling Up fund.

"That was a hammer blow, primarily as everything was all geared up and ready to go. We now need to find an alternative situation.

"There was always going to be a Plan B, we're working through those details now which does lead to a new set of negotiations with the interested stakeholders.

"Contractors need to be on site from the first of June, so we've actually got four months to get funding sorted out. But, in reality we've got about eight to ten weeks before it starts to have a real impact on the actual timeline.

"So we're going to use the majority of that time to make sure we get it right. I believe there are solutions to be found that will see the Kop developed."

In a further update on the Wrexham AFC website, Mr Harvey added: "We are working to a deadline of June 1, 2023, for construction work to commence on the Kop, so as to not to put completion for the start of the 2024/25 season at risk.

"With the support of the Gateway Partnership, Morgan Sindall have been appointed as the preferred contractor for the Kop Development and they are now fully engaged with the project’s design team, to prepare for construction work to commence.

"The discussions around the funding options will progress over the coming weeks to find the best possible solution among the options available to us."

The Kop re-development project was given the green light by Wrexham Council's planning committee last November.

It is hoped that it can take the Racecourse's capacity up to 15,500 and help international football return to the ground in the near future.

Today (Friday, January 27), a joint statement was issued on behalf of the Wrexham Gateway partners.

They said: “Wrexham Gateway partnership – which includes the strategic partners Wrexham County Borough Council acting as the lead accountable body, Welsh Government, Transport for Wales and Wrexham Glyndwr University – has started positive discussions with Wrexham AFC as a key delivery partner about the funding of the western side of the Wrexham Gateway after the negative Levelling Up Fund decision.

"These discussions will continue over the coming weeks.”