Wrexham school fight campaigners call to save heritage at hall meeting

Reporter:

Andrew Cain

ACTIVISTS battling to save a former Wrexham school held a public meeting to bolster their campaign.

Leaders of Save Our Heritage (SOH), which has been campaigning against the closure of the former Grove Park Girls School on Chester Road, invited members of the public to a meeting to discuss their ongoing efforts and the work they have already done.

Concerned residents packed into St Margaret’s Church hall in Garden Village last night to hear about the work being done by the group to save the building and what more could be done to help them.

Wrexham Council’s executive board voted in January to demolish the former school building, which has been empty for more than a decade.

Among the speakers at the meeting was the group’s leader Elaine Guntrip-Thomas, who became visibly emotional when talked about the potential loss of a school building that she and her family attended.

According to Ms Guntrip-Thomas and her colleagues in the group, they were talking about a much wider issue that was putting all of Wrexham’s heritage at risk.

She said: “It has never been our intention for this campaign to turn into the fight it has become.

“The many unpleasant experiences that people have had to endure because of this are unnecessary and unacceptable.

“We are here to enlighten more people in our town.”

Ms Guntrip-Thomas’ colleague in the group, Sarah Jennings-Roberts, referred to an application the group has made to Cadw to have the building protected from demolition by giving it listed status, an application which is still under review.

Ms Jennings-Roberts said: “What can I say about Cadw? The future of the building lies in their hands.

“We contacted them in the hope of securing the Groves as a listed building – and now we wait.”

Other speakers included Nick Roe from Wrexham Area Civic Society, who said that his group would encourage a working relationship with SOH to preserve the Groves and other heritage sites, Carrie Harper, the Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate for Wrexham and Labour councillor Malcolm King who criticised Wrexham Council’s handling of the whole issue.

Cllr King added: “We should not base our heritage just on architectural merits, but on what part the building has played in our community’s history.”

Ms Guntrip-Thomas thanked everyone for their attendance and concern over the issue, saying: “We have got to do something about this.”

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