Concern over loss of heritage as historic vicarage set to be knocked down to build housing
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Plans to demolish an old Wrexham vicarage look set to receive the green light despite concerns over the loss of its history.
Wrexham Council’s executive board previously rubber-stamped proposals to knock down the property in Rhosddu, known as Centre 67. Senior councillors said clearing the site would allow social housing to be created on the wider area surrounding it.
The move attracted opposition from local councillor Marc Jones, who said the town was in danger of losing part of its heritage after his request for alternative uses to be considered was turned down.
He had previously implored the council “not to wreck a part of our heritage and potential community asset without exploring every option”.
Prior approval for the demolition was requested by the local authority ahead of moving forward with the plans, which have now been recommended for approval by the council’s chief planning officer.
In a report to planning committee members, Lawrence Isted dismissed concerns raised by the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) about its removal.
He said: “Whilst CPAT have raised an objection to the application on the basis that an alternative use for the building should be sought prior to its demolition, this is not a consideration in the determination of the application, given the principle of demolishing the building has already been established in the GPDO (general permitted development order).
“CPAT go on to state that should demolition occur, a level four archaeology survey of the building should be carried out to ensure a permanent record of the building can be retained.
“This condition is not considered to be reasonable or necessary, given, as previously stated, the principle of demolishing the building has already been established.”
Lawrence Isted added: “Prior approval was requested to establish the impact of the proposal on nearby trees within influencing distance.
“Whilst CPAT may consider that the building appears to be of local architectural and historical value, the building is not listed and not within a conservation area.”
Centre 67 was last used in around 2005 and hopes were raised it could be turned into a community hub.
Plans to tear down the property on Rhosddu Road, which is located between the Spar and St James’ church, were first discussed by the council in 2013, but later put on hold.
The latest proposals will be discussed by the planning committee at a meeting on Monday (September 6, 2021). If approved, it’s expected an application for the social housing plans will be submitted at a later date.