Monday, 22 August 2016

Groves school building listed

The Welsh Government has today decided to list the old Groves School building in Wrexham town centre.

In a letter sent out today, the relevant minister Ken Skates said:
"I am writing to inform you that I have agreed a decision concerning the possible listing of the former Grove Park School, Wrexham as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
On the balance of the evidence presented to me, considering the merits of listing the building against the published criteria and in light of all the representations and all of the advice that has been submitted, I have agreed to the listing for the building’s special architectural interest as a building of definite quality and character as a key example of an interwar girl’s grammar school in the neo-classical tradition (in a 1930s interpretation) surviving largely intact.
I have carefully considered afresh all of the representations made about the building, the written and visual evidence and all of the specialist advice including the peer review and the advice that Wrexham County Borough Council commissioned. In particular, I have had specific regard to the listing criteria contained within Circulars 61/96 and 1/98. I have noted that there are arguments on both sides of the case which I consider demonstrates the finely balanced nature of the decision.
This decision has immediate effect and introduces a requirement for listed building consent to demolish the building or alter, or extend it in a way which affects it character as one of special architectural or historic interest.
 My officials have today written to Wrexham County Borough Council informing them of my decision."

The decision comes after a long campaign by Save our Heritage, a pressure group formed to stop Wrexham Council bulldozing the site. 

The school building and the rest of the site can now be used for the purpose for which it was covenanted to the council - as an educational site. The building can be adapted as a new primary school, which is desperately needed in the town as demand grows.

The council's own plans for the town centre show that it wants more housing. But without schools available locally, it's unlikely those houses would be attractive to young families.

The challenge now is for the council to deliver on its promise of building new schools on the site. 

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