Campaigners sign up to save Wrexham school from demolition

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

A CAMPAIGN to save a historic school building from demolition has been taken to the streets of Wrexham.

The group behind the fight to preserve the former Groves School in Wrexham, which includes former pupils, collected names on their petition to present to the council.

Save our Heritage Campaign chair Elaine Guntrip-Thomas said: “The rushed decision to demolish the historic school building came as an incredible shock to many people.

“There was no consultation, no warning and no debate – it was hurried through and we want to know why.

“There seems to be some kind of hidden agenda here and people have the right to know what is going on in their town. 

“This is a much-loved building that could be put to further use.

“Of course it needs refurbishment because it’s been lying idle for a decade but with some renovation it can outlast any new-build.”

The campaign group met under the arch opposite the Horse and Jockey pub in town on Saturday from 11am to launch the petition, which has already gained more than 1,000 names online.

It is urging councillors to stand up to what it termed the “dictatorial” executive board, whose 10 members decided to press ahead with demolition at a cost of £246,000.

Mrs Thomas, herself a former pupil at the Groves school, added: “It’s unclear what the council has planned for the site and we’d like the public to have a say in that decision.

“Councillors who aren’t on the executive board have the chance to challenge the appalling plan to demolish part of our heritage and we are urging them to stand up for the people of Wrexham.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, who attended the initial campaign group meeting, said: “These are big decisions with long-term implications and to rush through a demolition in such a short time is quite bizarre. If the council is confident that it’s making the right decision, it should share as much information as possible with the people who voted them in and let us be the judge.”

Last week, Graham Lloyd, of Wrexham History, was given access to the building’s interior and was “shocked” by its state.

Mr Lloyd said ceilings were collapsing and floors had caved in, while there was glass all over the floors.

Earlier this month, Wrexham Council’s executive board voted unanimously in favour of proposals to demolish the building on Powell Road.

Other options had been discussed, such as demolishing part of the building but retaining the facade at a cost of £418,000, as well as an extra £155,000 per year to protect it while waiting for development to go ahead, and retaining and mothballing the site at a cost of £375,000.

But council leader Cllr Mark Pritchard said demolition to build a new “modern 21st century school” was the more viable option.

See full story in the Leader

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