Theatre in Wales

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Wrexham theatre plans abandoned     

Plans for a new theatre and conference centre in Wrexham have been abandoned after councillors voted against going ahead with the multi-million pound scheme.

They decided to scrap the project because the costs were mounting and it was unpopular with locals.

The motion - which was carried by 24 votes to 18 - was made "in view of the real concerns expressed by the public".

Work was due to start on the project, which has been in the pipeline for seven years, next summer.

Wrexham council leader Shan Wilkinson said: "They were offering us £5.5m, we have turned that down and we have wasted the money they invested in the feasibility study and the architectural competition.

"So I think Wrexham's name is probably mud in the arts council."

The project has been plagued by financial problems from the start.

In October, the company due to build the 400-seat venue pulled out just weeks before starting work.

I'm aware of what an excellent scheme it was and I'm very sorry it has happened
Shan Wilkinson
And when Wrexham Council contacted the second tender to do the work instead, it had gone into administration.

This led to some councillors calling for the local authority to drop the scheme because of concerns over funding.

People living locally have also objected to the scheme claiming there was no need for another theatre in the area.

The William Aston Hall is nearby, as are the Stiwt in Rhosllanerchrugog and Theatre Clwyd Cymru.

Shan Wilkinson, leader of Wrexham Council, said she was extremely disappointed that the plans had been dropped.

"I had a personal commitment to this scheme in addition to supporting it as a councillor," she said.

"I've been a trustee of the board for some time and I'm aware of what an excellent scheme it was and I'm very sorry it has happened."

Wrexham AM John Marek has said he is glad the theatre plan has been dropped.

He said it was a "complete waste of money".

The Arts Council had awarded a grant of £4.6m towards the project, but the decision means that it is highly unlikely that a new theatre will be built in Wrexham, and the grant will now be lost.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2003back



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