The iconic Waterworld building is looking likely to be demolished after an attempt to gain listed status to protect it is rejected.
Due to the recent ‘leisure review’ by Wrexham Council it is likely Waterworld will be demolished, with some residents looking to Cadw to protect the building due to its design.
A replacement centre was priced up at £12 million however funding is not in place for this, and it was revealed not rebuilding could save the Council £857,000 a year. The £12 million could be loaned, yet no firm plans for funding nor rebuilding are in place.
Back in January we reported on the requests to Cadw for listing status, first aired on the Wrexham.com forums, with a reply from Cadw to one person posted yesterday.
Cadw have written back giving background to listings saying: “To qualify for listing, candidate buildings must be of nationally significant architectural or historic interest and must satisfy published listing criteria. Where these are met, the Welsh Ministers (in practice Cadw) are under a duty to list but cannot do so otherwise.”
Cadw go on to explain that refurbishment work have altered the character of the building: “In 1997 a major refurbishment was carried out by S&P architects.
“Overall, the outward expansion of the original envelope to accommodate additional spaces has had a significant impact on the overall character of the building.”
Later they expand further saying: “The degree of later extension to the entrance front and infilling under the roof, and to a lesser degree the other internal reconfigurations, militate against the listing of this building as it does not survive in a condition which clearly displays its original design concept and use of the parabolic roof form.”
Cadw acknowledge some elements of the history of the building raised saying: “This building is of architectural and historic interest in terms of its design and use of a parabolic roof, and as an example of a post-war swimming pool. It also has rarity value as one of very few swimming pools constructed in the post-war period in Wales and is the only known example of this type of roof structure in Wales.”
The summing up negates the rarity arguments raised saying: “The merit of this kind of roof structure as an architectural expression of form is also questionable as they were more fashionable and widely used at the start of the 1960’s. Most of the other examples of simple parabolic roofs are earlier and although rare, Waterworld is not a unique example of this type of structure outside of the specific use for a swimming pool within the UK.”
The conclusion itself perhaps means the writing is on the wall for one of the more iconic buildings of Wrexham: “Cadw does not consider that the listing criteria are met and the building cannot therefore be listed.”
Previously we have written about the closure and demolition of Waterworld, the demolition of the Police Station, probable closure of Crown Buildings and the future of the Memorial Hall in this article – as with them all gone the site that is opened up will be vast – with no plans made public on its future.
One resident in support of keeping the building told told us: “Due to decades of planning decisions Wrexham has turned into an identikit town with very few landmarks left, this will be yet another part of the fabric of what makes us unique destroyed.”
There is currently no timeline for the closure and demolition of the centre.