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Council vote in favour of demolishing ‘rare’ art deco building to build car park and flats

12 Jan 2022 3 minute read
57 Marine Drive Conwy

Conwy Council’s planning committee has voted by nine votes to three in favour of demolishing an art deco house in Conwy.

The architecturally unique house on Marine Drive was said to have been designed by a renowned Welsh architect and is part of the town’s promenade Heritage Trail. However, this suggestion was rejected by the Conwy planning officer.

The house, which was built in 1939 by Sidney Colwyn Foulkes, holds a commanding position on the seafront with spectacular views.

Architectural campaigning charity, the 20th Century Society had joined residents in lodging objections to the plans with the council, but confirmed today that the bid was unsuccessful.

Developers Commercial Development Management announced plans to knock the building down to build a cark park and flats in October.

The council report into the building notes that while “buildings of this type and style are relatively uncommon in Wales” in this case “there had been a series of changes which have detracted from its character”.

“The applicant has provided evidence to suggest that this building was not designed by prominent local architect Sidney Colwyn Foulkes but rather by William Evans
who also built the property,” the planning officer wrote in his report for councillors.

“The house was unsympathetically divided into two flats in the 1960s, and has lost many of its original features both internally and externally, in particular its original fenestration. It has been further damaged through unauthorised access over the last month which has resulted in further loss of
historic fabric.

“Unsympathetic upvc windows are now in situ which detract from the character of this 1930s built house. Despite the modern accretions, and recent damage, the building is still immediately identifiable as an Art Deco house; it would be preferable if it could be reused rather than demolished, especially in our current climate emergency.”

Clwyd West MS Darren Millar had written to Conwy County Council objecting to the plans and is also calling on the Welsh heritage minister, Dawn Bowden MS, to get involved.

His letter says: “While the building is not yet listed (few 20th century buildings are), it is included on the National Monuments Record of Wales which indicates the importance of the property to both local and national heritage here in Wales.

“The 20th Century Society and a host of other heritage experts have backed efforts to safeguard the future of the building and the local authority has asked CADW to consider listing the building but regards the outcome of the CADW process, I would request your personal intervention to protect this nationally important heritage asset.”

A petition to save the house has been signed by 690 people and can be found here.


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Marc
Marc
10 months ago

Why is it that the majority of councillors are utter philistines?

Last edited 10 months ago by Marc
j humphrys
j humphrys
10 months ago
Reply to  Marc

These guys in small communities must all know each other. Cymru, with population of just 3 million plus, could think of saving monies for better local services instead.
What are the CO2 emissions for the average council? I don’t insist, of course!

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Marc

Agree think of what Carms county council has done to its market towns over the years.The road dividing Caernarfon. The demolition of that fantastic deco cinema in Port and the state of Coleg Harlech, or the demolition of the Dunlop building in Gwent or the utter banality of Cardiff Bay, with its historical integrity rotting away. And dont even think if what Swansea could be. One thing about Englandvis they take better care of their built history and architecture

j humphrys
j humphrys
10 months ago
Reply to  Gaynor Jones

Sorry, Gaynor, plenty of written and photographic evidence to the contrary. Sadly.

Gaynor Jones
Gaynor Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Medieval towns would never be torn up as as happened here in west Wales, also look at the sympathetic renovation of mercantile and industrial quarters in many northern cities of England.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
10 months ago

Shocking. Both the decision and the fact that I am in agreement with Darren Millar!

Hubris
Hubris
10 months ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

I agree! I think Darren Millar is a tool but I am in complete agreement with him on this one. Conwy Council has a dreadful track record in recent years with regards to heritage. Why is Dawn Bowden dragging her feet?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
10 months ago

What a shame, it’s a lovely building.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

Such a waste…

It looks like the perfect retirement home for M. Poirot…

Derek
Derek
10 months ago

All of the planning officer’s listed detractions from the building’s original character were all permitted by one of his predecessors.

Frank Jenkins
Frank Jenkins
10 months ago

Looks an impressive piece of art deco architecture, could they transfer it to St Fagans?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank Jenkins

That would be a really good idea. I hope someone reads your comment and considers it.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
10 months ago
Reply to  Frank Jenkins

Ideally all such buildings deemed worthy of heritage status should be preserved in their original locations and only be reconstructed somewhere like St Fagans as a very last resort. That way buildings are preserved in their original context, which is where they make most sense.

j humphrys
j humphrys
10 months ago

…………. but one flush and you were gone!

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