The Groves school has been re-listed today. This is a week after Wrexham Council won a decision to get the building delisted in the High Court.
The building is, of immediate effect, relisted as Grade 2.
We understand the listing came via the Finance and Local Government section of Welsh Government. Update: It has been confirmed the listing was signed on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government, who is Mark Drakeford AM. The full written decision is at the footer of this page.
Wrexham Council have confirmed to Wrexham.com the listing decision.
Cllr Mark Pritchard, Leader of Wrexham Council, said “We are very disappointed with this decision and will take legal advice on the way forward.
“I can assure everyone that the council remains committed to providing 21st Century education in Wrexham on this site and this decision will not detract from our commitment.”
The former all girls school received a Grade II listing due to its ‘architectural interest’ – with Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates confirming the listing in August 2016 himself. This decision was then challenged by Wrexham Council. Last weeks High Court judgement document reversed the listing, and said that ‘Welsh Ministers’ ‘do reconsider and re-determine the application to list the former Grove Park School’, with the deadline stated as tomorrow.
Local AM Lesley Griffiths has told us this afternoon: “From secretive discussions to pre-prepared press releases and costly legal challenges, Wrexham Council must surely recognise their handling of this whole affair has been a complete shambles.”
“The former Groves School is a prominent site in the centre of town and council leaders have kept their plans secret for long enough.”
“There needs to be clarification and greater transparency. It is high time council leaders explained their proposals and consulted with the people and relevant stakeholders on the matter.”
Plaid Cymru have issued a statement, via Carrie Harper saying: “I’m delighted the campaign to see this building used for education has finally won the day, in the face of a council that’s failed in so many ways.
“It’s failed to outline a vision for the future of the site; it’s failed in terms of stopping Coleg Cambria from developing the building as a modern educational setting and it’s completely failed to explain what it wants to do with the site – even if the building had been demolished.
“People rightly feared that the site was being prepared for a sell-off for yet more housing because there’s so much distrust of the council’s motives. Now the building is staying, let’s see an agreement by all to work together to ensure we have a site of educational excellence in the town as soon as is possible.”
Elaine Guntrip-Thomas, chairperson of the Save Our Heritage group who have campaigned to preserve the building said this afternoon: “We knew the worth of this building all along. The reasons given to list the building are now documented for the public to see. We believe that we have been vindicated in our decision to campaign to save this important building. The next step will be to ensure the building is used to educate future generations.”
Full written decision: