Cadw have declared the Groves building to be of “special architectural interest” and will list it, subject to consultation, saving it from being knocked down.
The official draft notice from Cadw reads the build is… “Listed for its special architectural interest on the grounds of its quality and character as a key example of an inter-war girl’s grammar school in the neo-classical tradition (in a 1930s interpretation) which survives largely intact, and in view of its aesthetic merit as an ambitious building, which demonstrates stylistic flair in features such as the quality of the double-sweep stair and the external brickwork.”
In an e-mail to Roland George, who submitted the request to list the building, CADW caseworker Philip Hobson stated that subject to a 28 day consultation period, the building would become Grade 2 listed.
Previously such listing attempts have been knocked back twice, with this being a final chance as if the listing failed the building would have likely been demolished despite an attempt recently to get that demolition decision reviewed.
During the consultation period, CADW are inviting comments from Wrexham County Borough Council, and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales.
Elaine Guntrip-Thomas, chair of the Save Our Heritage campaign group, said “I’m delighted that CADW have finally recognised the importance that this building plays in defining the heritage of Wrexham. Our team of volunteers worked extremely hard to gather the information that was submitted to CADW. We’re looking forward to seeing how Wrexham Council will integrate the building into their plans for future education within the town centre”.
Designed by the Denbighshire County Architect Gilbert D Wiles, the school was officially opened in 1939. Initially as a Girls Grammar School, it became a comprehensive in 1972. Following a number of name changes, the school officially closed in 2003, but the building continued to be used by a number of other groups until 2012.
The news is likely to put a spanner in Council plans to knock the building down and replace it with two new school buildings, with a rethink of the site use now to be required. Listing status can also created added costs to the owners of buildings, and will ensure that any conversion or new developments will be required to protect the building.
Contractors are currently carrying out asbestos removal at the building, with the work set to be completed in mid July.
(Pic: The soon to be formally Grade II listed building)