Fears that empty buildings are targets for arson


Staff reporter (Denbighshire Free)

A SUSPECTED arson attack on a derelict former school building has raised concerns about empty properties in Denbighshire.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service attended and extinguished the blaze at the former school, on Grove Road, Denbigh, on April 15.

North Wales Police has been undertaking inquiries following the fire which is being treated as suspicious.

The fire has caused Denbigh councillors to call for action on the building, which closed as a school in the 1980s.

Denbigh councillor Colin Hughes said: “It was only a matter of time that someone would make it a target it just took someone with nothing to do.

“Residents have been worried about it for ages a lot of people raising their concerns that it was empty.

“The fact the school has been left to rot is a disgrace. When you abandon a building it will become a target. Thankfully no one was hurt.”

The former school, across from the old court house which is now being turned into a museum, is one of many empty buildings in Denbigh, including the old cinema,

The Crown Hotel and North Wales Hospital.

Denbighshire County Council, who own the school building, said the site is the subject of a trust.

A spokesman said: “Negotiations have been on-going with the Charities Commission regarding the disposal of the site. These negotiations are now close to conclusion and once vacant possession is obtained, the site will be sold.”

Denbigh councillor Raymond Bartley said: “I personally think the building is a prime spot in town, a key space for extra care housing.

“The place has been empty for a long time and this is a situation that will happen just as it has happened in North Wales Hospital.

“Something has to be done, we must put pressure on the Charity Commission or they take a long time. It needs to be sorted or it will fall into disrepair.”

North Wales' Arson Reduction Team launched an appeal last week to stamp out deliberate firestarting.

Kevin Jones, arson reduction manager said: “As the nights get lighter and the weather becomes warmer, we often see a rise in the number of deliberately set fires.

"We rely on parents and members of the community to work with us to drive home the messages on the consequences of deliberate fires - so we are appealing to the community to help ensure that the number of deliberate fires are kept to a minimum.

“This high number of incidents over recent days shows that there is still deliberate firestarters in our community.”

Councillor Gwyneth Kensler said: “There’s always been people around the area especially when the youth club was in there. There has been fires before outside. Easter seems to be a time for fires.

“The youth club is using cabins on the site but once the Denbigh Youth Project is available they will be relocated and it will be easier to sell the site.”

Police are appealing to anyone with information relating to the fire to contact officers at Denbigh police station on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously with information on 0800 555111.

See full story in the Free Press

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read