CAMPAIGNERS have called on council bosses to do something about the increasing number of rough sleepers on the grounds of a former school site.
The call from the Save Our Heritage campaign group was issued over concerns for the security of the grade II listed Groves school building in Powell Road, where rough sleepers have set up an ‘encampment’.
A spokesman for Save Our Heritage said: “We believe that the council has the powers to remove the encampment – if the council can remove travellers, they can remove the encampment.
“We believe it creates an unnecessary security risk and we’re concerned about the campfires that have been lit under the trees on the Chester Road side, which is near houses. We’re asking that the shrubbery be maintained and the lower limbs of the trees removed to increase visibility on site, which will reduce the level of rough sleeping there.
“You can barely see them from Powell Road when you’re driving by, they like to be undisturbed.
“We do have empathy for the rough sleepers but the building needs to be respected.”
Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, said: “We had a plan for the Groves to put one or two new 21st century schools on that site.
“We have been aware for many years of the anti-social behaviour and the damage that has been done to the building.
“It will continue and that is why we wanted a demolition of the current building.
“It was listed outside our control and we have been left with a white elephant.
“The difficulty that we have now is that we as a council have had a political discussion and taken the view that we will not be putting 24-hour security on site.
“The reason for that is it would cost £100,000 per year from the education budget.
“That money should only be used to educate our children.
“I sympathise with the residents that live in the area but if our plan had come to fruition, we would be submitting applications for funding for new schools on that site now.”
He added if 24-hour security on the site had gone ahead, the council would also have had to pay £20,000 for a cabin to be placed.
North Wales Fire and Rescue Service was called out on Thursday afternoon to extinguish a burning, partially collapsed tree at the Groves site, which had been started deliberately.
Anyone who has information about the incident can contact North Wales Police on 101.