CADW call for Denbigh Grammar to be saved from demolition

Reporter:

Josh Morris

An historic school building looks set to be demolished to make way for a supported living block after a council’s officers recommended its removal.

While much of the former Denbigh Grammar School is newer, there is a core of the building which dates back over a hundred years which according to CADW should be retained as part of the £10m development

But Denbighshire councillors are being recommended to reject the turnaround by the conservation body and give the go-ahead for the former Denbigh Grammar School to be demolished.

In February this year the council approved plans by the housing association Grwp Cynefin for 70 flats on the site with extra care for the residents.

The school was built in 1903 but ceased to be used as a school in 1983, later becoming a youth club and education training centre. It has been empty for many years and the more modern extensions have fallen into a state of disrepair.

County COuncillor for Denbigh and Plannign committee memebr Gwyneth Kensler said: “I attended the site meeting last week and it is a few years since I was last in the building, and I was very saddened to see how it had quickly deteriorated

“The outside facade, especially the entrance is every attractive, but we’ll have to debate it in the planning committe, and see what the outcome is.”

The decision on demolition of the original stone building has recently passed from the Welsh Government to the planning authority and in response to the council CADW now say it should be incorporated into the design of the complex, to be known as Pentre Bach.

The school was built by local architect James Hughes and the governing body insisted on local limestone being used.

“The main facade was clearly intended to be seen and to impress, and to be locally distinctive, all of which could come into play again once the facade is revealed,” say CADW.

They say that the original design of the new complex should have incorporated the old school, thus saving consider able investment by the developers.

“The building was written off because it currently has little impact on the conservation area but proposals have a responsibility to enhance rather than just protect the conservation area and in this instance the scheme fails to meet this challenge,” says the report.

The council’s conservation officer Chris Evans points out that in 2011 CADW did not feel the school was not worth listing and that was a significant factor when the proposals were being discussed with Grwp Cynefin.

The applicants’ agents did look at ways of incorporating it into the development but foresaw problems over floor levels, vehicular access and other issues.

The developers also argue that even if the building were retained it would be visible only from a limited number of access points, and that it would also be impossible to provide 70 units on the site.

Mr Evans says that CADW’s views have been considered but adds: “Officers take the view that the balance falls in favour of consenting to demolition, including the old school building.”

Email:

josh.morris@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the Free Press

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