A COUNCIL hopes to plough on with its plans and buy an old derelict hospital despite it being ravaged by fire.

More than 40 firefighters worked through the night last Friday to tackle a blaze at the derelict North Wales Hospital in Denbigh. The huge fire, which left part of the building charred and “beyond repair”, broke out about 3am. 

The fire happened within a wing of the main grade II listed building, an area due to be redeveloped into a mixed-use development involving new homes, employment space and community facilities.

The roof of the building collapsed, leaving the build in an unsafe condition, but Denbighshire County Council say they still intend to complete a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of the site and then transfer the site to The North Wales Building Preservation Trust (NWBPT).

The site is currently in private ownership by Freemont (Denbigh) Ltd, based in the British Virgin Islands. The owner obtained outline planning permission in 2006 but did not develop the site and the building deteriorated to the point where it was at risk of collapse.

Graham Boase, Denbighshire’s Head of Planning and Public Protection, said: “The investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing and we are shocked and appalled at the actions of those individuals who have caused so much damage to this vitally important historic property. We are also disappointed, although not surprised, at the continued lack of any actions by the owners to address the levels of trespass onto the site and the associated damage being caused to the buildings. It is this lack of any action by the owners that have led the Council to going down the Compulsory Purchase route, as pursuing such action is always a last resort.

“Unfortunately, the part of the building damaged by the fire was earmarked for restoration and re-development, but because of the seriousness of the damage it is probably beyond repair.

“We recognise there is an expectation for something positive to happen with the site and we would like to reassure residents in the local community that our position has not changed.

“We will continue to work towards completing the compulsory purchase process over the coming months. The delay is linked to the funding options being pursued by the North Wales Building Preservation Trust, which we anticipate being concluded in the near future.”

The old North Wales Hospital, also known as Denbigh Asylum, was designed by Thomas Fulljames; building started in 1844 and completed in 1848. 

Denbighshire council won a CPO following a lengthy public inquiry last year. The CPO requires the owner to sell the building to council, who will then transfer “immediate” ownership of the site to NWBPT.