Posted: Fri 17th May 2024

Questions raised over future of former Groves school for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

Questions have been raised over the future of a school building in Wrexham which has stood empty for nearly two decades.

The Groves School, located on the edge of the city centre, has been closed since 2005.

Several proposals to bring it back into use have fallen through over the years, including plans to turn it into a medical school and for it to be incorporated into the Coleg Cambria campus.

Wrexham Council previously failed in an attempt to demolish the former grammar school after it was listed by the Welsh Government following a community campaign to protect it.

The local authority later conducted a feasibility study to look at turning it into a primary school, but the estimated £11.5m refurbishment costs were judged to be too high.

The building’s future was raised at a meeting of senior councillors this week where the council’s assets strategy was discussed.

It came after it was revealed the authority had spent hundreds of thousands of pound to maintain the site over the years.

Speaking at an executive board meeting on Tuesday (May 14, 2024), Bangor-on-Dee councillor Jeremy Newton (Cons), said: “My question is regarding disused assets, in particular, the Groves School.

“I understand since April 2005 and January 2023, it’s cost the council just short of £809,000 to maintain it.

“I also understand that there was a possible plan that a museum was going to be started up there. Is there any news on that?

“Could we use the grounds for carbon capture and maybe for staff parking seeing as we’re short of staff parking in the city.”

In response, deputy council leader David A Bithell (Ind) said the strategy was not about individual sites, but a broader policy regarding the authority’s assets.

He said Cllr Newton should ask officers for further information about plans for the school.

He said: “What we need to be mindful of is that we’re only debating the strategy and not going into individual sites.

“I’m sure the officers will get back to you after this meeting with an update on what the current status is.”

Cllr Marc Jones (Plaid) also asked about the future of the former Empire cinema on Chester Street in the city centre.

It followed a reference in the report to executive board members about “exploratory discussions” being held about the property.

Cllr Bithell said any further information would need to be requested from officers.

Members of the ruling independent/Conservative coalition agreed to approve the strategy at the end of the discussion.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter

Spotted something? Got a story? Email [email protected]

Have a look at...

Experience Chester Zoo after hours this summer with new ‘Afterglow’ event

Wrexham golf club raises thousands for lifesaving Wales Air Ambulance

Hospices say Welsh Government funding “needs to keep pace with the need for, and costs of, our services”

Who are you going to vote for? Take part in our quick straw poll!

Bellevue FC wins top award for inclusivity in Welsh sport

Last chance to register to vote in July General Election!

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod souvenir programme released

‘Do you know where your children are when out with their friends’, ask police after antisocial behaviour reports

Warning amid rise in scam job adverts used to steal personal information

‘Club and council reassess stadium plans’

New food and drink hub set to open as part of Chapter Court

Councillors probe Wrexham Civic Leaders Group’s initiatives, impact, and future plans