Heritage minister urged to save Art Deco house in Rhos-on-Sea
The Welsh heritage minister has been urged to intervene to prevent a prominent historical building in Rhos-on-Sea from being demolished.
The art deco house on Marine Drive was designed by a renowned Welsh architect and is part of the town’s promenade Heritage Trail.
The house, which was built in 1939 by Sidney Colwyn Foulkes, holds a commanding position on the sea front with spectacular views.
Architectural campaigning charity, the 20th Century Society have joined residents in lodging objections to the plans with the council
Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has 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.”
Steeped in history
Mr Millar added: “The campaign is rightly recommending that it is retrofitted into a house or flats rather than demolishing it to build flats.
“There is widespread concern about this iconic Art Deco building with and I really hope that the heritage minister recognises its importance and assists in putting an end to these worrying proposals.”
Cllr Jay Lusted said: “This is an impressive building steeped in history and to demolish it would be devastating. I have made my objections known to the Council and will continue working with campaigners to save it.”
Concerns were initially raised when Developers Commercial Development Management submitted plans to knock down the house on the corner of Marine Drive and College Avenue and replace it with five apartments and car parking.
The case officer dealing with the application was urged to check whether the building comes under council policies, which protect local structures of importance in the area.
Born and raised in Colwyn Bay, Foulkes won a scholarship to study architecture at the University of Liverpool after drawing up plans for what became The Cosy Cinema on a former horse stable site in Colwyn Bay.
He went on to win a commission to design the Rhos Playhouse, the Arcadia Theatre and several war memorials including the Obelisk at Llandudno.
He was involved in the design of more theatres and playhouses across North Wales as well as hospitals and housing estates.
Foulkes and his wife Daisy Charney had five children. Their son Ralph also became an architect, and his wife, Elizabeth Colwyn Foulkes received an MBE for her architectural work.
Awarded the Freedom of the Borough in 1966 by Conwy Council, Foulkes was a member of the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales and of the Historic Buildings council for Wales.
When Foulkes died in 1971 Clough Williams-Ellis the architect and designer of Portmeirion, wrote: “Whenever I could, I would take distinguished visiting architects and critics (Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford amongst them) to see both him and examples of his work – sure of their warm approval and admiration of both, in support of my own.”
The petition to save the house can be found here
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