The old Groves School has cost Wrexham Council more than £1.1m since 2015-16.

A Freedom of Information request seen by the Leader revealed the authority has spent £1,107,516 on the facility in Powell Road from 2015-16 until December 29, 2017.

The former school stands empty after Wrexham Council’s bid to knock it down and build two new schools in its place were thwarted when AM Mark Drakeford granted it listed status.

Len Griffiths, of Bryn Hedd, Southsea, said the idea of the council pumping so much money into the Groves at a time when it was looking at cutting frontline services left him sick to the stomach.

He said: “I think, at a time when the council is telling us they are having to cut back and close things down, it is disgusting.

“We’ve heard schools might have to lay off teachers and teaching assistants when all this money us being wasted on an empty building.

“It should have been sold off to Coleg Cambria years ago.

“All this money has been wasted when it could have gone on other things like youth services.

“It is the Welsh Government making it a listed building which has caused the council a lot of problems.

“They gave it that status and they should get it taken off. It’s only going to cost more money if they don’t.

“The public of Wrexham is having to go through all these cuts and when you see how much has been used on that school, it is sickening.

“What’s the point of wasting money on an empty building?”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The building is listed because of its architectural and historical significance to Wales.

“The listing of the building has the effect of regulating any proposals for its alteration or demolition through the requirement for listed building consent.

“However, the listing is not a preservation order and many listed buildings are capable of being brought into modern day use. 

“While works must be properly justified, this does not mean that adaptation is not possible.”

Cllr Phil Wynn, lead member for education, said: “We share Mr Griffiths’ view – the authority pursued demolition of the former Groves school in 2016, with a view to building modern schools on the site.

“However, now the site is listed, we are required to spend money on its maintenance.

“We appreciate his view on the need to spend taxpayers’ money wisely, especially during a time when schools face budget pressures.

“I hope to bring a report on the intended use for the Groves site to elected members soon.”

Last year, a feasibility study to determine the future of the old Groves school site and building was to be commissioned.

Wrexham Council has applied for further funding under the 21st Century Schools programme with a view to developing primary school education on the site.

Earlier in 2017, the site had been used as a homeless camp.

After it was vacated, Wrexham Community Safety Partnership (WCSP) helped clean up and secure the area to prevent any future settlements.

CCTV cameras were redirected to cover the former camp and signage notifying the public of CCTV surveillance was installed. 

Wrexham Council leader Cllr Mark Pritchard previously said Welsh Government ministers Ken Skates and Mark Drakeford had succumbed to pressure from Save Our Heritage campaigners who fought to get the building in Powell Road listed.

The original decision to demolish the Groves building was taken in January 2016 at an executive board meeting after the council withdrew from negotiations to sell the building to Coleg Cambria.

Other options discussed included demolishing part of the building, but retaining the facade at £418,000, as well as an extra £155,000 per year to protect it while waiting for any development to go ahead, and retaining and mothballing the site for £375,000.

If it had been demolished, the council had planned to build two new schools on the site to meet increasing demand.