WREXHAM Council has revealed it has no plans to reuse a Grade II listed school for education.

The authority said that refurbishing the Groves School in Wrexham town centre as a primary school would be too expensive, with an estimated cost of £11.5 million.

However, it intends to build a brand new primary school for a total of 480 pupils on land surrounding the former girls’ school instead, according to a new report.

The move comes despite an outline of the report being published in July, which suggested the expected outcome was for it to be protected and reopened for learning.

But under the proposals the existing building, which campaigners fought hard to save, would be declared as surplus to requirements by the council’s education department and either passed to another department or sold off.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has condemned the plans and believes the authority should have asked members of the public for their views.

He said: “The idea of mothballing a very important site in the centre of Wrexham and not seeing it as part of all the issues in the town centre is extraordinary at this particular time.

“I’m disappointed that the council only looked at using the site for a primary school and I’m disappointed that there hasn’t been a consultation with the people of Wrexham.

“It’s a hugely important site for Wrexham and I think it’s sad that there hasn’t really been an attempt to identify ideas for the use of the site beyond what the council leadership decided within their own minds.

“What I would’ve liked to have seen would be to invite everyone to come forward with ideas as far as the site is concerned.

“It’s three years since the council decided not to proceed with Coleg Cambria and I’m sorry that they haven’t done that.”

As part of a feasibility study, the council commissioned architects to look at whether the conversion of the listed building for primary school use was possible.

In a joint report by council leader Mark Pritchard and lead member for education Cllr Phil Wynn, they admitted that transforming it was possible.

However, they said the costs would far outweigh the benefits. They said: “The report has concluded that it is possible to convert the existing secondary school building for primary school use.

“To do so however, would require significant compromises, which are not acceptable to the education department as they would not afford the most favourable learning environment for pupils.

“Ultimately, only one configuration has resulted in an indication of support from CADW officers, which essentially maintains all of the current building, including the poor quality Park Avenue elevation.

“The budget estimate for converting the existing building for primary school use as identified in the brief is £11.5m to include VAT.

“A new build school that conforms to 21st Century Schools standards and the relevant building bulletins would cost £6.7m to include VAT.”

In order for the new school to move forward, they said there needed to be certainty over the future use of the listed building.

Responsibility for the site and the costs associated with it will remain with the education department until it is decided.

The council had originally intended to demolish the school before it was listed by the Welsh Government as a building of special architectural interest.