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First Minister Carwyn Jones will be urged to improve Wrexham’s transport links so it can benefit from being hooked up to the “northern powerhouse”.

According to Wrexham Business Professionals, the town should also be given city status to cement its position as the economic hub of North East Wales.

Chartered accountant Gill Kreft, the group’s chair, said Wrexham would then be better placed to work in tandem with the nearby Deeside Enterprise Zone to power regional prosperity.

She was speaking ahead of their meeting at the Ramada Hotel in Wrexham on October 23 when the First Minister will be the guest of honour.

Among the other keynote speakers will be former Liverpool mayor Gary Millar and David Jones, the principal and chief executive of Coleg Cambria, who is also the chair of Deeside Enterprise Zone.

Gill Kreft said: “Wrexham Business Professionals is made up of highly skilled professional firms of solicitors and accountants working together with business to raise the profile of expertise and enterprise that exists in the region and beyond.

“The First Minister will be briefed about our strategy for North Wales which puts Wrexham centre stage along with Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths and Wrexham MP Ian Lucas.

“There are challenges but also huge opportunities, as Wrexham is at the heart of the east-west economic corridor between North West Wales and the powerhouses of the North West of England such as Liverpool and Manchester.

“However, the future is bright for Wrexham and as a group of business professionals we will continue to call for Wrexham to be granted city status which we feel is important.

“We also want to see improved transport links so we are better aligned with the cities like Liverpool and Manchester and ride the economic wave generated by the notion of a northern powerhouse.

“We also need more partnership in North East Wales and the case for more synergy with Deeside Enterprise Zone is compelling as part of our overall economic strategy.

“We need to attract companies to start up, or relocate to North Wales so they can benefit from the tax advantages that come with it.

“Wrexham Industrial Estate has the advantage of its close proximity to Deeside Industrial Estate – having two such huge estates so close together means together they form a cog in the wheel around which the region’s businesses revolve, providing a gateway to North West Wales a linking to the North West of England.

“Wrexham Industrial estate is the second biggest industrial estate in the UK. If we can hard-wire it through collaboration with the one in Deeside, we can create the biggest industrial park in Europe.

“The new link road to Wrexham Industrial Estate which opened a few years ago was a major improvement.

“We now need to take the next step with further improvements to our transport links and infrastructure so we are perfectly placed to tap into and exploit the potential offered by the so called northern powerhouse in the North West.

“We also need to see more Wrexham Industrial Estate land released. We know there are businesses just waiting to grow and some that wish to relocate to North Wales but can’t as there simply isn’t the room available at the moment. Another imperative is the fast track the planning process to make it even more attractive to invest here.”

She added: “I’m also thrilled David Jones will speak at our Powering Regional Prosperity event in October.

“David’s role in further education in the region links directly to its business success. Without David and his staff supplying the talented individuals and workforce that businesses need to grow and develop. The future would not be anywhere near as bright as it is. Glyndwr University is also making a valuable contribution.”

For his part, David Jones felt it was vitally important that Wrexham was seen as a place that’s “open for business”.

He said: “The climate has to be right and one that allows businesses to grow. It’s imperative that Wrexham, which is vital to the region’s economic success, is developed as a hub for the economy and business in North Wales.

“There are so many benefits to businesses relocating to the area. It’s clearly a great place to grow with a talented workforce ready and willing to share in that success.”

The third speaker at the event will be former Liverpool Lord Mayor Gary Millar.

Gill Kreft said: “Gary is a dynamic character who will tell us about his work in championing the city of Liverpool and the success he had in bringing business to the Merseyside region.

“I’m also pleased that Wrexham MP Ian Lucas and Clwyd South AM ken Skates will both be attending the event.”

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