THE ANNUAL Wrexham Area Civic Society has hosted its annual award ceremony this year in the fine setting of St Giles' Parish Church.

The intention of the society’s annual awards is to encourage high architectural practice in buildings and environmental enhancements within Wrexham County.

Over 85 members and guests attended the event, including Mayor Councillor Andy Williams and the Mayoress, the leader and deputy leader of Wrexham Council and chair of Wrexham Council's Planning Committee, Cllr Michael Morris.

Sponsored by GHP Legal, the awards ceremony was announced by the society's chairman Geoff Foy and presented by Cllr Morris.

This year's award for New Building of Notable Architectural Merit was proudly given to Coleg Cambria on Chester Road as the society was hugely impressed by the design of the building, particularly the use of glass. 

The Leader: Coleg Cambria Entrance, Chester RoadColeg Cambria Entrance, Chester Road (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

The Cats Protection building on Bradley Road was awarded a commendation with its low projection which does not impair the views of the listed Catholic Cathedral.

The Leader: Cats Protection Wrexham Adoption Centre on Bradley Road.Cats Protection Wrexham Adoption Centre on Bradley Road. (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

An award for Conservation of an Existing Building was given to the Hope Street Church, known in Wrexham as the "old Burtons building" on the corner of Hope Street and Town Hall. This has been conserved for use as a church and community centre.

The Leader: Hope St Church, Hope Street/Town HillHope St Church, Hope Street/Town Hill (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

The society is always encouraging the reuse of redundant buildings rather than demolition, and two such buildings have been reused in Rhosrobin.

An award for Regeneration through Renewal or Replacement of an Existing Building was given for the reuse of the former Olivet Chapel as an art studio.

The Leader: Olive Chapel building in RhosrobinOlive Chapel building in Rhosrobin (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

A commendation was awarded for the reuse of a redundant building, also in Rhosrobin, as “Wrexham Sounds” studios, where participation of people of all ages, particularly the younger when music teaching is less in schools, is encouraged.

An award for Landscaping or Environmental Improvement was given for the sculpture at the entrance to Wrexham Barracks on Kingsmills Road. This wonderful statue, by Nick Elphick, serves as a tribute to the servicemen and women of the Welsh Regiment, and is prominent on the approach into Wrexham.

The Leader: Sculpture at entrance to Hightown BarracksSculpture at entrance to Hightown Barracks (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

Three commendations were also awarded in this category. The mural by Chelsea Jackson on Rhos Library wall has enlivened the approach into an otherwise nondescript building.

Two further murals in the lower level of Eagles Meadow car park brightened an otherwise depressing environment. The third commendation was for the Community Gardens in Holt, for their imaginative land use and encouragement of community participation in gardening.

The Leader: Eagles Meadow Car Park muralsEagles Meadow Car Park murals (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)The Leader: Holt Community GardenersHolt Community Gardeners (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

The Ruth Howarth Award, which is in memory of a longtime member of the society, was given for a significant contribution to Wrexham's environment or quality of life, not necessarily a building or landscape. This year the award was given for the reuse of the Mines Rescue Building on Maesgwyn Road, Wrexham.

The Leader: The Ruth Howarth Award. Wrexham Miners Rescue StationThe Ruth Howarth Award. Wrexham Miners Rescue Station (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)

The Leader: Former Groves SchoolFormer Groves School (Image: Wrexham Area Civic Society)


The society decided to make three Wooden Spoon awards this year. The first is for the apparent lack of maintenance of the former Groves School. Wrexham Council has a statutory duty to maintain the building in the condition in which it was listed. It is to be hoped that appropriate maintenance is carried out until such time as a reuse is found for the building.

The second is for the demolition of St James Vicarage in Rhosddu. This building, constructed in local stone, was apparently demolished without any consideration as to how it may be reconfigured for social uses. The stone, valuable for possible reuse for maintenance elsewhere, was not even retained, but is now held by the contractor.

The third award is for the land at the corner of St. Giles Way and Bridge Street, derelict now for many years. It is to be hoped that this eyesore, close to the Parish Church, can soon be somehow sympathetically redeveloped.