A new council boss has vowed to build a “new and exciting” relationship with the business community in Wrexham.
Ian Bancroft, the recently-appointed chief executive of Wrexham County Borough Council, says it’s vital the public and private sectors work together to forge a more prosperous future for the town.
Mr Bancroft made to the pledge at the annual Christmas gathering of Wrexham Business Professionals at the Ramada Hotel.
The group is made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professional firms of solicitors, accountants and other business professionals working together to raise the profile of enterprise and expertise that exists in the region and beyond.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to speak to you and I’m committed to this being the start of what I’m sure will be many productive conversations with you as representatives of the Wrexham business community. This is the start of what I hope will be an ongoing dialogue.
“My priority is to ensure Wrexham remains a great place to do business and I want to support the investment needed to achieve this.
“To achieve this we, as a council, need to ensure the right infrastructure in terms of skills and support is in place and we listen to your views. In my view there is no point in having conversations if it doesn’t deliver something. We need to make a difference.
“As an individual I want to be approachable and ensure we work together appropriately and in a way that benefits both Wrexham and its residents. It’s about talking up Wrexham as the major urban area in North Wales.”
“I believe in Wrexham and I believe in the people of Wrexham. It’s a unique place and we are brilliantly well-connected in terms of moving into west Wales and in terms of Liverpool and Manchester.
“I believe in economic success and how that fuels aspiration and by creating jobs and people raising their income. That’s how we get people out of poverty. I also believe success comes with an equality of opportunity.
“Equal opportunity is important to me in terms of Wrexham, if we look at one of our Gwersyllt wards then women in that ward die, on average, 10 years younger than women in the rest of the UK. Surely, that isn’t right.
“What is also important to me is that we provide our citizens and residents with the skills and capacity to develop themselves and we, as an authority, shouldn’t be over providing services.
“We should be thinking about the way to provide services so people are encouraged to solve their own problems. They know the industries they want to work with and the skills they need to get.”
He said: “My initial priorities start, not surprisingly, with the economy. I’m taking the lead with the council on the Growth Deal in terms of the work across North Wales.
“I’m also taking the lead around the Transport Hub and the development of the train station and how that links into the football club and the university. They are really important gateways into the town.
“The Growth Deal will see a £670million investment in the region and discussions are going on to finalise that part of the deal with Welsh Government. We also need to ensure digital connectivity is as good as it can be.
“It’s important we plan for tomorrow not for today and we, as a council, are leading the work across North Wales on getting faster broadband.
“Other areas for me are about creating a common purpose. As a council we need to have dialogue across sectors. What do we want Wrexham to be like in five or 10 years? And how are we going to create a masterplan to achieve our goals.
“It must be a private, a public sector and a community vision. It has to be something we do together. I see my role as facilitating that vision across all sectors.
“In terms of our relationship I want to see Wrexham as being a great place to come and do business in. I’m committed to making Wrexham the best we can make it.
“For me it’s about talking up Wrexham. We can work together to ensure everyone across Wales and beyond recognises what we have to offer.”
According to Wrexham Business Professionals chair Gill Kreft, it was exciting to hear Ian Bancroft’s vision for Wrexham.
She said: “It is the start of a new era and I’m delighted Ian Bancroft agreed to speak to members and intends to build a long term relationship with our group. What he had to say was indeed very welcome and I think we all look forward to a new and exciting relationship with the local authority.
“It is important to understand, and clearly Ian Bancroft understands, that the business community and the council both have similar goals. A prosperous and dynamic town and local economy that’s good for business and good for the people who rely on business for jobs.”
“I have no doubt Ian Bancroft is a proactive chief executive who wants to see businesses and the private sector working closely with the local authority to push Wrexham on toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
To find out more about Wrexham Business Professionals please visit www.wrexhambusinessprofessionals.com or contact Kate Edwards on 01978 720242. The next event, Countdown to Brexit, is on 22 February 2019.