News

Works to I’m a Celebrity castle approved in readiness for ITV’s return

12 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Gwrych Castle. Ognyan Petrov (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter

Works to improve and secure the castle used for ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here reality show, have been approved by councillors.

ITV bosses announced the show would be coming back to Wales 10 days ago, after it became clear restrictions in Australia imposed because of Covid outbreaks, and uncertainty over international travel, meant Gwrych would get a second successive exposure to the limelight.

Conwy county council’s planning committee approved a retrospective application for replacement of security fencing, retention of temporary roofs installed for last year’s show, and other minor works along with a new electrical supply cabinet at Gwrych Castle, Abergele.

At Wednesday’s planning meeting members mulled over the application for the works to the Grade 1* listed buildings and Grade II grounds but not all were delighted by the proposals.

Cllr Ifor Lloyd, deputy chair of the council and member for Betws yn Rhos ward, questioned why an environmental assessment had not been completed for the work.

Planning officer Ceri Thomas explained such assessments are only completed if officers judged there would be the risk of environmental impact from a scheme and Cllr Lloyd abstained from the vote.

Meanwhile, Cllr Sue Lloyd-Williams (Llansannan ward) wasn’t keen on the look of the metal security fencing used on some of the site.

She said: “We are looking at a beautiful site and part of the fencing in front of us is not as pleasing as we would like.”

She also wanted it made clear in the recommendations the temporary fencing would only have permission for five years, which it was confirmed was an accepted part of the proposal.

Temporary

The castle, which has seen more than 60,000 visitors since reopening in April, has become synonymous with the TV show fronted by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly.

It has forced castle trustees to make sure security is tightened around the site, which has caused consternation among some locals, who objected to some footpaths being shut off by gates.

However, Mr Thomas said none of this impacted the current application.

The proposals will see:

  • 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 protected;
  • 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

Councillors granted permission by 11 votes to nil, with one abstention and also approved listed building consent by the same margin.

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