Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Heritage minister urged to save Art Deco house in Rhos-on-Sea

04 Dec 2021 3 minute read
The Art Deco house on Marine Drive. Photo via Google

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.

Distinguished

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


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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

7 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ed Jones
Ed Jones
8 months ago

Well, it had to happen. I guess. In this instance, I agree with Darren Millar! This house is a beaut, we have already lost too many examples of exemplary architecture in this area, if these developers wish to build apartments (never really for locals, are they are?!), fair enough, but please, do so elsewhere.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Ed Jones

In case anyone’s interested, documents appertaining to this, from Conwy County Council – https://edm.conwy.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningDocuments.page

Michael Rieveley
Michael Rieveley
8 months ago

This iconic building by a highly regarded architect should be saved for a number of reasons. As a fine example of Art Deco it has historic importance, as awareness and appreciation of these early 20th century design movements grows it would be tragic and detrimental to the reputation of the local authorities and the planning authority if they allowed a building of this stature to be demolished. There should also be pride that architect was from the area and perhaps there should be greater efforts to celebrate his achievements and his buildings. One such is 7 Abergele Road, Colwyn Bay… Read more »

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
8 months ago

Conwy Council have no regard or respect for anything Welsh or local.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 months ago

Need to cut out this Rhos on Sea nonsense. Hasn’t the place got a Welsh name or is now part of West Cheshire ?

Denise
Denise
8 months ago

Wales appears notoriously bad at saving history. Demolition of a number of iconic buildings in and around Cardiff 😡 and now this beautiful example is in jeopardy. Not for sound reason merely profit.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago

Apparently Wales is not allowed to have any kind of architectural heritage. I suppose it does help the English elite to maintain their belief that we are incapable of creating high culture even if it is just a domestic dwelling.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.