Protesters show their colours in campaign to save Wrexham school

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan

FORMER pupils were among those protesting against the planned demolition of Wrexham’s Groves School building.

Earlier this month Wrexham Council’s executive board voted unanimously to demolish the building on Powell Road.

But last week the decision was ‘called-in’ by other councillors and an executive board meeting will be held on Wednesday to decide its fate.

On Saturday morning, ribbons and old school ties were attached to fencing in front of the building, as well as a large banner, as people made their opposition to demolition known.

Passing cars beeped their horns in solidarity and there was also support from across the political spectrum.

Wrexham’s Labour MP Ian Lucas, Labour Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths and Plaid Cymru’s Wrexham Assembly Member candidate Carrie Harper joined the crowd.

Save Our Heritage campaign chairman Elaine Guntrip-Thomas said: “We are all very annoyed and disturbed by the fact it has happened so quickly with no consultation.

“There has been a massive outpouring of sentimentality by people from all walks of life and only a year ago there was obviously clear vision for the potential of the building which was to be tastefully integrated.

“Fellow Wrexham people have been expressing their concern and dismay at the hasty decision which was clearly made without consultation.

“The support from all over Wrexham and beyond has been amazing.”

Former pupils turned up to show their support.

Kath Williams, who attended the school from 1963 to 1970, said: “It’s not so much the fact that it was here, but that it will be an absolute waste of such a nice building.”

Another former pupil, Jill Howell, who went to the school from 1974 to 1979, said: “It is more than just sentiment.

“It’s a lovely old building, why would anyone want to get rid of it, or knock it down?

“Hopefully, the council will reconsider their decision.”

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas said: “I just want the council to consult with members of the public in Wrexham. People are rightly upset.

“The first step should have been to ask the public and have a consultation but that hasn’t been done.

“They should be more accountable.

“Nothing will happen on the site until 2019, and there is still no local development plan in place, or large-scale consultation about Wrexham town centre.”

Wrexham Assembly Member Lesley Griffiths said: “It is a really good turnout and shows the strength of feeling in the town.

“People want to see the town’s heritage saved and preserved, there is an appreciation of our best buildings.

“The council have acted too quickly and people are telling them to reverse the decision.

“It is right people have turned out today and that hte strength of feeling in the town is represented.”

Plaid Cymru Wrexham Assembly Member candidate Carrie Harper said: “People were stunned when they first learned of the council’s decision.

“People panicked when they heard the plans, and that is not the way things should be done.

“The lack of transparency and openness, and the sense it is being dealt with behind closed doors needs to be looked at.

“So many people have an emotional connection with the building and every councillor should have a vote.

“The decision needs to be challenged and everything should be out in the open.”

The call-in executive board meeting takes place at Wrexham Council’s Guildhall on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

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