Councillors to debate plans to restore I’m A Celeb castle to its former glory
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
Plans to upgrade this year’s venue for TV Show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here will go before councillors next week.
Gwrych Castle will host the TV reality show, hosted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, once again this year after problems locating to their original destination in Australia because of Covid.
While it’s a boost to the area’s economy and profile it is also helping Gwrych Castle Trust accelerate the refurbishment of the Grade 1 listed building and its grounds.
Restoring it to its former glory will be debated next week at Conwy County Borough Council’s planning meeting.
Also among the plans are proposals to retain and extend security fencing to protect the venue while the show is filmed, plus permission to keep temporary roofing installed for last year’s production.
A report to the planning committee said: “Filming at the castle necessitated various temporary works, many of which are included in this application.”
The application is seeking approval for:
- Retention of the protective temporary roofs over the dining room and the coach house/blacksmith’s shop;
- Retention/installation of security fencing to ensure the castle and grounds are
- Retention of the new balustrade to the bothy staircase;
- Re-roofing of the dairy;
- Installation of new doors to the coach house and blacksmith’s shop;
- Removal of a small section of modern concrete flooring from the wash house;
- Provision of a new electrical supply cabinet adjacent to the drive
- There has been unprecedented support for the works with dozens of neighbours writing in to Conwy county council and backing the scheme.
However a letter from Llanddulas and Rhyd y Foel community council has raised issues with a number of gates erected around the site which it says it is not aware of planning consent for.
In a letter from town clerk Helen Stewart, it says some of these gates (and some security fencing) block rights of way and the community council has applied for Conwy county council to update its “definitive map” of the access routes.
It also asked any approval for the six gates in question would include provisions for people’s rights of way.
A heritage statement outlined plans to reinstate a full permanent roof over the blacksmith’s and coach house areas at some point.
It added: “For the time being this space provides essential dry storage as well as space to display further items from both the programme and the castle’s history.”
The study also revealed some of the detective work which went into designing the iron balustrade of the bothy staircase.
ITV craftsmen devised a design based on the “stubs of the balusters” (the vertical parts of the balustrade) and enquiries were made to match with those in buildings of a similar age.
The report said Cadw is happy with the designs and evidence showed the finished product was “remarkably accurate”.
The trust has applied for listed building consent to complete the works, some of which is retrospective.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.