129 Grade ll listed buildings in Flintshire at risk


Romilly Scragg

MORE than 120 Grade II listed buildings in Flintshire are at risk.

Nine of the historically significant structures are so badly run down they are now officially classed as derelict.

Among the buildings at grave risk are part of a house where renowned composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote music and a hostel which housed women during the Second World War.

The situation across Flintshire has been described as “diabolical” by a conservation campaigner.

Of the county’s 1,030 listed buildings, 129 are in danger - more than one in 10 - and as many as 26 are in the highest risk categories - ‘grave’ or ‘extreme’.

But just three of Flintshire’s at risk buildings, most of which are privately owned, are currently undergoing repair or restoration, figures from Flintshire Council and Welsh heritage body Cadw showed.

Councils in some parts of Wales have given listed building owners ultimatums to repair them within months or face them being sold compulsorily, like Swansea Council, which issued an ultimatum to the owners of the iconic Victorian Danbert House.

In May Flintshire Council said it planned to write to all listed building owners to remind them of their responsibilities as owners of important heritage assets.

Now more than three months later, the council declined to say what action had been taken since, but did say that “no money has been spent on them recently”.

Flintshire’s planning strategy manager Andy Roberts said the council would contact owners of buildings at most risk to try to work out a means to address the issues and use enforcement powers “when and where appropriate”.

But he said that with no funding at present from Welsh heritage body Cadw to address problem buildings and with the authority facing unprecedented budget cuts, the council was limited as to what direct action it could take.

Local historian David Rowe said it was important to save the buildings for future generations.

“The wealth of Flintshire was built on mining and quarrying and a lot of these properties are part of our industrial heritage that certainly you should be looking at preserving.

“It’s what made Flintshire in the 19th century.

“With private houses, you’ve got Coed Du, where there’s the link with Mendelssohn who actually wrote music there and Charles Kingsley [author of the Water Babies] who also visited.

“Many of the buildings were working domestic structures.

“Ice houses were such an important part of an estate’s life, as were the dovecotes, because they provided food during the winter.

“These are the sorts of things we really should be looking to preserve for future generations - so we can understand how people then lived.”

Former county councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun said Flintshire Council should be doing more and that if the buildings were not saved Flintshire will lose a big slice of its cultural heritage.

“It’s the county’s duty to take action and to protect our heritage,” he said.

“People in the future won’t see or know how we lived in the past. It’s loss of landscape which is very important. People in the future need to know how we lived in the past - what was good, what was bad, what we did wrong - so they can learn how to live in the future.

“It’s the children who will lose out.”

According to the Welsh Government’s Cadw, which looks after the built heritage of Wales, there are approximately 2,700 listed buildings at risk across Wales.

A Cadw spokesman said: “There are a number of buildings at risk in Flintshire and across Wales. We monitor buildings at risk through an all-Wales condition survey, which informs our strategies to tackle the issues of conservation and maintenance of historic buildings across Wales.”

Properties at grave risk include the Ice House at the registry office in Hawarden, the bath house at Coed Du in Cilcain, Bryn Awel in Pentre Halkyn, the piggeries at Nercwys Hall and the former women’s land army hostel in Sealand.

Other properties at risk include Bettisfield Colliery’s winding engine house, heapstead and lamp room, the Alleluia monument in Gwernaffield, a row of kilns at the former Afon Wen Portland Cement works, Caerwys, the telephone box outside the post office in Holywell and at Talacre Abbey in Llanasa, the banqueting house in the walled garden, the grotto adjoining the folly tower and Home Farm.

Flintshire Buildings at Risk (Categories 1 to 3):

Risk Score 1 - Grave Risk:

Bagillt - Dingle Cottage, Gadlys. Brynford - Ebenezer Cottage. Cilcain - Engine House at Hendre Quarry; Bath House at Coed Du. Halkyn - Brick Kiln and Stack at Hendre Quarry; Bryn Awel, Pentre Halkyn; Ore Dressing Shed at Hendre Quarry; Taylor’s Shaft Engine House at Hendre Quarry. Hawarden - Registry Office (Ice House to East), Rectory Lane; Former Stable Block at Castle Hill Farm, Ewloe. Leeswood - Former Dovecote of Leeswood Hall. Llanasa - Ice House at Gym Castle; Stable block at Home Farm, Talacre Abbey. Mostyn - Gate Piers and garden wall at Isglan Farm; Mostyn Hall Ice House; Barn and cow house at Isglan Farm. Nercwys - Piggeries at Nerquis Hall; Dovecot at The Tower; Adjoining farm buildings to S, Trefrwd Farm. Sealand - Former Women’s Land Army Hostel. Trelawnyd & Gwaenysgor - Siamber Wen, Trelawnyd; Pentre Mawr Farmhouse, Trelawnyd. Whitford - Former Cartshed in rear yard of Llys Mair. Limekilns, Garreg.

Risk Score 2 - Extreme Risk

Trelawnyd & Gwaenysgor - Bakehouse with attached former byre at Garnychain Farm. Mold - Former Smithy, Chester Street

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