Battle to save historic Flintshire building gathers pace

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A FIGHT to save historic buildings from demolition is gathering pace.

An application to bulldoze the former headquarters of the John Summers Steelworks in Shotton, including laboratories, a canteen and a garage, has been submitted to Flintshire Council because landowners are fed up with paying for security.

The iconic five-storey listed clocktower building will be retained.

The land has been blighted with graffiti, litter and drug paraphernalia since new owners took over in June.

Hundreds of pounds worth of oil has been stolen from underground pumps at a disused garage and manhole covers around the site have also been lifted by thieves.

More than £45,000 has been spent trying to secure the site, including boarding up windows and installing fencing.

Sealand Cllr Christine Jones says demolition is the only way to deter the vandals, but environmental campaigner Cllr Klaus Armstrong-Braun, who represents Saltney, believes the site plays an integral part in Deeside history and should be restored.

He told the Leader: “It is crazy that no-one is fighting to save these buildings.

“The whole world bought steel from John Summers back in the day so we can’t let vandals stop us from preserving the site.

“I think the site would make a perfect hotel and conference centre.”

Cllr Armstrong-Braun is calling on Welsh heritage organisation Cadw to conduct a survey to establish if the buildings are worthy of saving.

A Cadw spokesman said: “One building on the former Corus site is already listed.

“Other buildings on the site are threatened with demolition and in response to this threat Flintshire Council has very recently served a preservation notice on them.

“The Assembly Government has six months from the date of serving to decide whether to confirm the notice.

“In the meantime the properties are legally protected.”

Flintshire Council officers are now considering the planning application.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “The former ancillary buildings (canteen, offices and laboratories) are designated ‘buildings of local interest’.

“This status provides a degree of protection against demolition in that should anyone wish to demolish them an application has to be submitted to Flintshire Council’s planning authority which then determines the application.”

See full story in the Leader

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