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Gwrych Castle asks to reinstate security removed for I’m a Celebrity after break-ins

30 Apr 2021 3 minute read
Gwrych Castle. Ognyan Petrov (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter

People breaking into Gwrych Castle has forced its preservation trust to apply for permission to reinstate security fencing removed for TV show I’m a Celebrity.

Planning documents submitted to Conwy county council also ask for permission to keep temporary roofs installed for the hit ITV series, so they can hold displays in the dining room, coach house and blacksmith’s shop.

The application also seeks approval for a new electrical supply cabinet, new doors on the coach house and blacksmith’s shop, a new roof for the dairy and retention of a new balustrade to the bothy staircase.

The heritage statement submitted with the plans says security fencing, removed to necessitate filming of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here near Abergele, needs to be reinstated because of “on-going issues of breaking and entering”.

The Grade I listed building was front and centre of the nation’s viewing habits during live broadcasts of the programme last year, bringing with it “international prominence” said the report.

The castle, listed as “at risk” on Cadw’s register, is open daily but access is currently being restricted to the gardens and outer, surrounding buildings.

‘Remarkably accurate’

The application outlines the trust’s aim of opening all buildings to the public to “fully interpret their history and development”.

It said: “The trust has secured a Resilient Heritage Grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund which has provided the opportunity to undertake an assessment of the conditions of the castle.”

The cash will also support the long-term development of a “masterplan” for the site.

Later in the heritage statement it revealed separate planning permission will eventually be sought to reinstate a full permanent roof over the blacksmith’s and coach house areas.

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 were happy with the designs and later 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.

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