PLANS to convert a historic Mines Rescue Centre into student accommodation have been turned down.
Wrexham Council’s planning committee met last night to discuss proposals submitted by JJ Properties Ltd, which had been recommended for approval by the authority’s head of community well-being and development, Lawrence Isted.
Plans on the table were for 19 bedrooms, living and kitchen accommodation for students as well as external alterations to windows and doorways at the centre.
The Grade II listed building on Maesgwyn Road – which dates to 1913 – was used to train miners in rescue techniques and has galleries made to resemble mine shafts.
The chairman of the North Wales Miners Association Trust, Alan Jones, spoke at the meeting to oppose the development.
He said: “The Mines Rescue Centre has played an integral part in the story of mining in Wrexham. I have no confidence if this goes ahead that they will reinstate the drill hall or galleries.”
Making reference to previous demolition work carried out by the previous owner of the building, Neville Dickens, Mr Jones said: “There has been significant damage to the hall and galleries which have been left open to the elements since then.”
Mr Dickens admitted three charges of failing to notify Wrexham Council of intended demolition work at the centre in August, 2010. The former co-owner of Wrexham FC, who also owns a car dealership, was ordered to pay almost £4,000 in fines and costs.
Cllr Graham Rogers said: “This building is an important part of the heritage and culture of Wrexham and I believe if this application is successful the culture and heritage for our children to see will no longer be there.”
Concerns were also raised that the provision of four parking spaces for the development was insufficient.
Maesgwyn Residents Group submitted a petition with 24 signatures ,saying there was already an issue with a lack of parking on Maesgwyn Road.
Cllr Mark Pritchard said: “I think it will be a nightmare for the residents living on that street.”
Wrexham Council’s planning policy manager David Watson said: “There is very limited space for parking provision, whatever the use of this building.”
Members voted 11 to six in favour of Cllr Keith Gregory’s recommendation to refuse the application on the grounds of over intensification of use, insufficient parking provision and to maintain the integrity of a listed building.