Posted: Fri 22nd Jan 2016

Opposition To Groves Demolition Plan Grows

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Friday, Jan 22nd, 2016

Challenges to the planned demolition of the Groves school building are gaining pace, with a campaign group formed, the local MP writing to the Council and a request for pro-bono experts to come forward.

The decision to demolish the remaining buildings on the site was first announced on the 6th of January, with the decision made on the 12th of January by Councillors.

Since the plans and subsequent decisions has been made there have been digital reams of comments left on social media posts (each link there is a separate thread), along with a thread on our forums questioning the decision – with one poster asking if any local experts would be interested in looking at the site for the benefit of the people of Wrexham.

The campaign group, which includes former pupils at the iconic town centre building, will be collecting names on their petition to present to the council. Save our Heritage Campaign chair Elaine Guntrip-Thomas said: “The rushed decision to demolish the historic school building came as an incredible shock to many people. There was no consultation, no warning and no debate – it was hurried through and we want to know why.

“There seems to be some kind of hidden agenda here and people have the right to know what is going on in their town. This is a much-loved building that could be put to further use. Of course it needs refurbishment because it’s been lying idle for a decade but with some renovation it can outlast any new build.”

The campaign group will be meeting under the arch opposite the Horse and Jockey pub in town tomorrow morning from 11am to launch the petition, which has already gained more than 1,000 names online.

It is urging councillors to stand up to what it termed the “dictatorial” executive board, whose 10 members decided to press ahead with demolition at a cost of £246,000.

Mrs Thomas, herself a former pupil at the Groves school, added: “It’s unclear what the council has planned for the site and we’d like the public to have a say in that decision. Councillors who aren’t on the executive board have the chance to challenge the appalling plan to demolish part of our heritage and we are urging them to stand up for the people of Wrexham.”

Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, who attended the initial campaign group meeting on Sunday, said: “People I talk to feel the council isn’t being open and transparent about this and a number of other projects in the town. These are big decisions with long-term implications and to rush through a demolition in such a short time is quite bizarre. If the council is confident that it’s making the right decision, it should share as much information as possible with the people who voted them in and let us be the judge.

“As things stand, we don’t know what’s being planned and why the demolition is being rushed through without consultation.”

Anyone wishing to support the campaign can visit the group’s website at www.soh.wales.

Wrexham’s MP Ian Lucas is also unhappy with the decision, and has written to council officers asking for the council to review the demolition decision asking them instead to carry out “a full, open consultation with the people of Wrexham on the future of the site.”

In his letter Mr Lucas notes a number of areas where he believes the decision did not meet the council’s own requirements on decision-making – as set out in its constitution. He states: “It is clear that the Council has failed to abide by its own principles of decision making in reaching its decision to demolish the Groves building.”

Speaking this week, he said: “This decision was taken very quickly indeed. Days after the proposals had become public knowledge, the Wrexham Council Executive board – made up of Conservative and Independent councillors – had voted them through.

“There was no consultation with the people of Wrexham – something the council says itself should be carried out before decisions are taken. I think this decision has been rushed through. I do not know what was behind the decision to push this decision through so quickly but the council has a constitution for a reason – and councillors should follow it.”

 



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