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Private Meeting Over Groves Hints At Possible Council Legal Challenge To Listing

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Sep 5th, 2016.

An explanation on why the public will be excluded from a discussion on the Groves school has been provided ahead of a ‘special’ meeting due to take place tomorrow. 

Councillors and members of the Executive Board have been invited to meet tomorrow morning to discuss Cadw’s decision to list the former Groves school.

The news the school had been listed came at the end of August and followed an eight month campaign / debate to save the school from demolition.

Speaking at the time Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates noted he had agreed to the listing for the building’s ‘special architectural interest as a building of definite quality and character as a key example of an interwar girl’s grammar school in the neo-classical tradition (in a 1930s interpretation) surviving largely intact’.

The news the school had been listed developed a mixed response on social media, with a Facebook thread on Wrexham.com generating over 100 comments on the topic.

Shortly after the announcement details of a ‘Special Executive Board’ meeting appeared on the Wrexham Council website, with the meeting due to take place tomorrow. Such a meeting is quite a rare event, prompting speculation that a legal challenge that was previously mooted could be in preparation.

It has been confirmed that the discussion would not be open to members of the press or public, which is usually the case when financial, legal or human resource issues are discussed.

Last Friday details of why the ‘special’ meeting was being proposed to be held in Part 2 was posted on the Wrexham Council website – with the standard statement listed below giving nothing away:

In considering whether to exclude the press and public from the next part of the meeting Members are asked to consider the following factors when determining the public interest test.

Agenda Item 4 – Not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 16 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). The Proper Officer has determined in considering this report that Paragraph 16 should apply in which case there is no public interest assessment to be made.

It is, therefore, recommended that the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following item as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 16 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

Wrexham.com queried with Wrexham Council to see if any clarification was available on what Paragraph 16 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 relates on this particular item.

A spokesperson for Wrexham Council told us: “The report contains information which falls within the description of exempt information contained in Paragraph 16 of part 4 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 in that it contains information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.”

This appears to point towards a legal orientated discussion over the listing decision, and a previous meeting was told that Wrexham Council’s legal and and technical advisors would be reviewing any listing decision. At that meeting the outcomes of ‘either to accept the intention to list the building or to challenge it’ was given.

It is anticipated further information will be issued promptly after the meeting takes place.



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