Construction begins on site of building that collapsed in Wrexham town centre


Jonathan Grieve

Work has begun on a new development on the site of a building which collapsed without warning.

Construction has started on a mixed use structure on the site of the building that collapsed on Penybryn, Wrexham, in January 2015

The site will consist of four commercial units and 24 two-bedroom apartments with parking.

The work is being funded by a combined £350,000 empty property loan and commercial property loan, provided through Wrexham Council as part of the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places scheme.

The scheme aims to regenerate and develop townscapes through positive investment.

Work carried out by contractors DMR North Wales of Coedpoeth is expected to run until October.

Mike Roberts, owner of Rags and Riches opposite the site, saw the original building collapse when locking up the shop with his wife Sue and both said they are very happy to see progress on the development.

Construction work has started on a mixed use development in Penybryn

Mrs Roberts added: “We are very pleased to see things moving. 

“They started with the groundwork a bit ago but now the steel is going up you can see the progress. It’s happening very quickly and they seem to be doing a good job.” 

She said it would be beneficial for businesses nearby to have more residents in the area when construction is complete.

The original building after its collapse

Speaking when the funding was announced, lead member for economic development and regeneration, Cllr Neil Rogers, said: “We know that the Penybryn site has been of special interest to local people, as it sits on one of the main arteries into town and its potential development has been of keen interest to residents and visitors alike.

“I also hope this development will help to kickstart the renovation of vacant properties around Wrexham, especially those in and close to the town centre.” 

Debris was scattered across the road as the front of building, which was due to be demolished, came crashing down shortly before 5pm on Sunday, January 4, 2015.

People living close by who saw the scene of destruction said it reminded them of bombing scenes from a war film.

Rubble cascaded across the street, taking down a street light, and dust filled the air.

Two walkers were heading in the direction of the building, about 100 metres away, when it came down and a car had only just driven past on the road outside.

Planning permission for the development was initially granted in 2008, with an extension given the green light in 2013.

A design and access statement submitted along with the extension application reads: “The applicants’ vision is to regenerate this near derelict site which has been vacant for several years, by carrying out the approved development to create a beneficial use comprising a well designed set of buildings that integrate neatly into the existing pattern of development.”

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