Images reveal how Groves site in Wrexham could have looked....

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan

WREXHAM’S MP has called on the council to reveal plans for the old Groves school site.

Town MP Ian Lucas has thrown the gauntlet down to Wrexham Council to come up with a use for the Grade II listed building on Powell Road near the town centre.

The site is also protected by a covenant, which means it is restricted to being used for educational purposes.

Yesterday in a tweet he revealed the architectural plans of what the site could have looked like – had the deal which was agreed to sell it to Coleg Cambria not fallen through two years ago.

Mr Lucas told the Leader it was a shame for the town that those plans did not come to fruition.

He said: “For me we have to go right back and remember the plan with Coleg Cambria to carry out work on the site, which the council unilaterally ended two years ago.

“It is deeply regrettable that at no stage since then have they consulted with the public on any proposals for the site.

“There has been mention about two new schools but there has been no consultation with myself, the Welsh Government or the Wrexham public, or any clear information.”

Last week the Save Our Heritage campaign group, which fought to preserve the building 18 months ago when demolition was mooted, raised concerns for the security of the site, where rough sleepers have set up an ‘encampment’.

He added: “I’m afraid the council’s reaction since the building was listed has been simply to complain about it.

“It is an important site in the town centre that they need to have a vision for.

“I’m very prepared to assist in any way I can, as I’m sure Lesley Griffiths (Wrexham AM) and Ken Skates (Welsh Government economy secretary) will as well.

“Previously the council has made suggestion the site could be used for parking and had that been carried through, might have helped avoid some of the problems being experienced at the site now.

“Let’s have a positive picture for the future of the site.”

Cllr Hugh Jones, speaking at a meeting of Wrexham Town Centre Forum yesterday, announced an “interim action plan to work with rough sleepers at the Groves”.

Cllr Jones, lead member for people, communities, partnerships public protection and community safety, said: “We now have established a gold command group that consists of the chairman of the area planning board, the Member of Parliament – we have also invited the Assembly Member for Wrexham to join that group – Supt Alex Goss and myself.

“That group will meet regularly and that ensures the key players in terms of tackling the issues are around the town centre, the decision-makers and funders are available around the same table.

“It is an interim plan that we hope will achieve three things:

“First, it will ensure security and reassurance for residents around the Groves.

“Second, the security of the site, because it is a listed building and we have responsibility to protect that building. And thirdly, the security and welfare of the individuals on the site.”

He added: “We see the location of the Groves to be very much a temporary measure.

“Clearly if we were to simply move the people, that would create problems in the town centre which none of us wants to see.

“The fact we have the service users in one place gives us an opportunity to provide a long-term plan.”

Maesydre councillor Paul Jones told the meeting: “I want to reiterate that the situation at the Groves is a temporary solution to provide a more sustainable situation going forward.”

 

Email:

rory.sheehan@nwn.co.uk

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