Wrexham mine rescue station could be demolished

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

THE owner of Wrexham’s historic former Mines Rescue Station has now submitted plans to have it knocked down.

There was uproar from local conservationists last summer when the centre, in Maesgwyn Road, was partially demolished on the orders of its owner, former Wrexham FC chairman Neville Dickens, despite having been given a Grade II
listing by Welsh ancient monuments body Cadw.

The building has outline planning permission dating back to 2004 to clear the site and build eight apartments, which was renewed in 2007.

In August demolition work on the site was stopped by Wrexham Council officers, who were called to the scene by concerned members of the public.

About one third of the gallery was destroyed and the council is now gathering evidence with a view to instigating prosecution proceedings against the owners.

Earlier this month members of Wrexham’s planning committee approved measures to secure the building and protect it from further deterioration by serving an urgent works notice on Mr Dickens.

Now Mr Dickens and his wife have submitted a formal planning application for the demolition of the building, which was opened to help find survivors of mining accidents.

Those who trained there helped in the rescue of miners from the 1934 Gresford disaster, when an explosion claimed the lives of 266 people.

A justification statement, which accompanies the application prepared by Glyn R. Bridge, of Cheshire-based planning consultants McDyre & Co, acting on behalf of the owners, says: “Overall, this an unremarkable building which may have some historical associations but they could be adequately commemorated by a photographic record and a plaque.

“There is no point in retaining the training galleries in particular because they cannot be used for any other purpose due to their layout and lack of windows, nor would they be accessible to the public or even capable of being used by anyone living or working in the remainder of the building, nor do I believe that any more than a small part of the galleries would have been originally used for training mine workers.

“The council is therefore requested to approve the demolition of this building.”

Mr Bridge also says in his report that a previous owner of the building was Wrexham Council, and he adds: “It is worth noting that at no time during the sale of the property by the council, or during the processing of the two applications, was any reference made to any historical or architectural importance, or the possibility of it meriting protection as a listed building.”

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “The planning committee agreed an urgent works notice could be issued to ensure works went ahead to make the building sound.

“A risk assessment and method statement will now have to be submitted and we are awaiting these from Mr Dickens.

“Regarding the current application, we can confirm it has been received and is currently going through the planning process.”

Mr Dickens was unavailable for comment.

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