Ebenezer Chapel ‘withdrawn’ from auction by Wrexham Council as interim injunction granted after legal challenge
Wrexham Council’s latest attempt to sell off the Ebenezer Chapel building has been thwarted by a legal challenge by a community group.
The building, located in Cefn Mawr, received a significant injection of grant funding in 2008, which saw it converted into a community centre with office and gallery spaces and a café bar.
However, the project encountered financial difficulties because of a lack of visitors and the former Baptist chapel site closed its doors five years later.
The property was set to be auctioned off in 2019 by Wrexham Council amid interest from the Plas Kynaston Canal Group, which had ambitious plans to link it to a new cable car system.
The property was due to be on auction again today with bidding set to finish tomorrow, however on the eve of the sale it has been pulled.
Auctioneers told Wrexham.com yesterday, “The subject lot has been withdrawn from our March auction under vendor instructions. We will let you know via email if the property is to be offered in a future auction.”
Yesterday we asked Wrexham Council about the sale withdrawal, and were told today that no comment was available as the matter was in the hands of the council’s legal department.
Earlier this month Plas Kynaston Canal Group warned Wrexham Council a legal challenge could be mounted if the auction proceeded, and wrote to the council saying, “After taking advice from our solicitor, we are considering applying for an Injunction to stop the sale of the Ebenezer and secure the Economic Future for our Community. This is not a move we want to make but since it offers the best outcome for our Community, it is a step we must take.”
They noted, “Our offer of £200K to take the Ebenezer on as a community facility will remain throughout as we want to work with WCBC. However, whatever we must spend on legal fees will be removed from our offer price. We see this as a fair arrangement as we will have to use our own money which we would prefer to see invested in our community, whereas if WCBC decides to contest the case, WCBC will be using public funds (i.e. our community’s money again)!”.
A later communication added, “We do not wish to argue with WCBC and only seek to work with them, but our community’s economic recovery is being put at jeopardy unnecessarily by their present course of action and we do not have a great deal of choice in the matter.”
An interim injunction has since been successful, with the decision made public last night as detailed below:
Cefn Community Council have also issued an open invite to local residents ahead of tonight’s Community Council Meeting where they say they will be making an ‘informative presentation’ regarding the Ebenezer that will contain ‘factual information surrounding the sale of the building’ – the public Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89113107654?pwd=d1lmYnk5TCtCelZCTlVsWVZISm5Kdz09 and will be live at 6:30pm.
You can follow updates from the community group on the “Save the Ebenezer for good” group page here.
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