Wrexham police HQ ‘eyesore’ set for demolition

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

THE police headquarters in Wrexham could be knocked down in the next 10 years, the Leader can exclusively reveal.

The 14-storey building at Bodhyfryd has long been dubbed an eyesore and even before it was built in the 1970s was described as a ‘monstrosity’.

Now police have revealed plans to redevelop the Bodhyfryd complex and said in a statement: “It is likely the tower will be removed.”

They say the Bodhyfryd complex is becoming dated and maintenance liabilities estimated at £6 million over the next 10 years have been identified.

Stephen Roberts, head of facilities management at North Wales Police, said: “As part of the well publicised restructuring of the force, the accommodation requirements across North Wales are also being reviewed.

“Centralising of some support functions is creating surplus space in the tower at Bodhyfryd, Wrexham.

“The intention is to minimise the number of occupants in the tower to reduce the building's operating costs.”

Retired chief inspector Emlyn Edwards used to work in the building and said he was very happy that it could be knocked down.

“It’s horrendous,” said Mr Roberts, who retired after 30 years police service in 1983.

“Not only is it an eyesore, it’s a monstrosity and it doesn’t enhance the image of Wrexham.”

Mr Edwards used to work as chief inspector in Wrexham and said: “My office was the second from the top, it wasn’t a nice place and in gales you would feel seasick.

“It was not a convenient building to work in. If you wanted to see a member of staff you had to come down two or three flights of stairs

“From the beginning I didn’t think it was a good idea to have the tower as a police station.

“I think the creators of it lived to regret it as it cost a fortune in repairs as it’s open to the elements.”

These repairs were well documented in the Leader in the 1970s and ’80s with a cutting from 1988 revealing that, since it was built 12 years previously, £750,000 has been spent on upkeep.

And even before it was built the building hit the headlines with one cutting from the Leader in 1972 reading: “A 140 ft tower which will be the focal point of Wrexham’s new divisional police headquarters ... was described as a monstrosity and like ‘the leaning tower of Pisa without its background’ at a meeting of Denbighshire County Council’s eastern area planning committee.”

Mr Edwards continued: “The building couldn’t be uglier from my point of view.
“I’d like to see a police station that has some character and something which is appealing to the eye.”

If the building were to be demolished consideration would have to be taken for a pair of peregrine falcons which live in the roof.

Chairman of the Wrexham Heritage Society, Roy Griffiths, said: “I think a lot of people think it looks bad and that it’s an eyesore but there will be some people who support the birds that are living there.”

Former Wrexham MP John Marek said: “It’s not a nice building and I personally would not shed any tears if it was to come down.

“But they are going to have to demonstrate to the public that it is the cheapest option.

“Clearly it would be absolutely wrong to spend needless money demolishing it and having to rebuild a station, especially in the current economic climate.”

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