DECISIONS to give a former school building site in Wrexham a new lease of life has been discussed by senior councillors.

A discussion was held by Wrexham Council’s executive board during a private meeting at the Guildhall where members of the press and public were excluded on February 11 about the fate of the Groves School building and its adjoining playing fields – which has lay abandoned since 2003.

Documents released online today, February 12, revealed that members decided to “enable the regeneration of the former Groves School Building whilst preserving its listed building status and removing a maintenance liability.”

They state that the council’s chief officer housing and economy, Steve Bayley, has been authorised to ‘submit a full planning application with reserved matters’ as well as apply to the Lands Tribunal to remove or alter the existing covenants, agree a 99-year full repair and insurance lease at peppercorn rent and negotiate any further agreements required for the use of the Nine Acre site.

An article published by Wrexham Council ahead of the meeting previewed what the councillors would be discussing, and says that senior members were asked to ‘approve the Heads of Terms for the future use of both the former Groves School Building and the adjoining playing field and to approve the actions required to complete the disposals’.

This discussion was held out of the public eye and the council said: “As a Part Two item it is not possible to disclose details of this item but we would like to reassure everyone that the report item will build on the proposals to relocate the WAFC training facility to the site of the former Groves School and explore the opportunities for the Grade II listed building following the “Expressions of Interest” exercise undertaken last year.

“There are no proposals in the report to demolish the building and we believe the proposals, if approved and if they are successful, will see a positive resolution to this site, which has remained empty for several years, that is acceptable to everyone concerned with its future use.”

Previous news referenced by the council quote Cllr Mark Pritchard, leader of Wrexham Council, saying: “If you follow football in Wrexham, you will know that Wrexham AFC have been training on land at Nine Acre, in Maesydre, since the summer of 2017. During their time training on the Nine Acre field, we at Wrexham Council have worked with them to support a proposal for a new training ground.

“We have now helped them to complete this proposal for a new purpose built, long-term training venue, which will make sure they have a site suitable for professional football well into the future – and also allow us to move forward with plans for town centre schooling.

“Subject to approvals, addressing current conditions and legal requirements for the site, it is hoped that the club could begin training on grounds at the former Groves school in 2020. Freeing up Nine Acre will allow us to move on with plans for a new town centre primary school, which previously would have been located either on or near the former Groves.

“Although there are no plans for the redevelopment of the listed Groves school, the building will still be an asset in the council’s education department, surplus to requirements. This council has always stressed its ambition to create a new primary school in the town centre, and that goal was at the forefront of our discussions around plans for the former Groves school.”