Battle plans laid to protect former Wrexham rescue centre

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Staff reporter

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to preserve Wrexham’s historic former Mines Rescue Station have warned they could stand in front of the bulldozers if the council approves a plan to demolish the building.

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.

Just before Christmas, Mr Dickens and his wife submitted a formal planning application for the demolition of the building, which was opened to help find survivors of mining accidents, including those of the 1934 Gresford disaster.

Yesterday Ted McKay, a director of the North Wales Miners’ Association, which had been spearheading the battle to preserve the station said: “We are the last miners in the area but people who share our sentiments are in their hundreds.

“The opposition to the demolition of this building is such that the bulldozers might find someone standing in their way.

“They may have to run over a bunch of determined people, but we don’t want that.

“We would much prefer to sit around a table with all the interested parties - the council, Cadw and Mr Dickens - and sort this out.

“We were the people who brought this issue to the public’s attention and I am sure we can help find a solution.”

In a report justifying the demolition, Glyn R. Bridge, of Cheshire-based planning consultants McDyre & Co, acting on behalf of the owners, says: “Overall, this is an unremarkable building which may have some historical associations but they could be adequately commemorated by a photographic record and a plaque.”

But Mr McKay said: “This building is anything but unremarkable.

“There are a number of unique features, such as the fascade and the training gallery, which are well capable of preservation.”

The council says the Dickens’ application to demolish the building is now going through the planning process. Mr Dickens was unavailable for comment.

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