CALLS have been made for a park to be created on a site where an old cinema once stood in Wrexham town centre.
The Hippodrome on Henblas Street was destroyed by fire in 2008 around a decade after it closed its doors and the building was later demolished.
The land has stood vacant ever since despite several proposals being put forward to redevelop it.
The most recent plans saw approval given for two shops with 13 apartments above them to be built on the plot in 2019, but the scheme did not move forward.
Wrexham Council has today (Monday, 24 January) confirmed it has bought the site, with a report published this month showing it intends to use the area as “dwell space” for visitors to the town’s indoor markets.
Meanwhile, a politician has backed a suggestion made by a local resident for it to be turned into a small park for shoppers and people living in the town centre.
Cllr Marc Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward, said: “I’d like the site developed as a ‘pocket park’ with flexibility to provide space for kids to play as well as being a much-needed green space for the hundreds of people now moving to live in the town centre.
“Henblas Street has gone from having a parade of empty shops to being filled now and it’s also the gateway to the Xplore! science centre.
“Along with the redevelopment of the Butchers’ Market, there’s a real opportunity to create a public open space to complement that for people visiting, working and living in town.”
The local authority has received funding to refurbish both the Butcher’s Market and General Market.
It follows concerns being raised over a decline in visitor numbers and the large amount of empty stalls within the Grade II-listed buildings.
It’s expected the refurbishment will be completed by 2023 with the Hippodrome site forming part of the plans.
The council said the land will be developed in several phases, with initial work being carried out to remove weeds, bushes and trees and hoardings at the front of the site being secured.
Council leader Mark Pritchard said: “Having taken ownership of this site, we are now in control of its future.
“We aim to make sure that the spot is put to best use, and benefits town centre trade.
“This is the first of many purchases within the town where we will be looking at acquiring redundant properties that have been sitting empty for too long.
“I’m really pleased with the purchase of this plot of land, although it had taken longer than we would have liked.”
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