Go ahead to demolish old Wrexham police station

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A conservation body has given the go-ahead for the demolition of the former police station in Wrexham.

CADW had been considering listing the high-rise building which would have blocked plans to knock down the concrete brutalist structure to make way for a supermarket.

They have now revealed it is not worthy of being listed for its architectural or historical merit.

North Wales Police have vacated the building which is now surplus to their requirements.

A new Eastern Command and Custody Facility is already up and running in nearby Llay.

A new town centre police station is due to open at the old art gallery at Wrexham Library which is being adapted for the purpose and in the meantime the locally based police officers are based at temporary accommodation nearby.

Listing the building would protect the building from being razed and stop plans to redevelop the site in their tracks.

Supermarket chain have agreed to buy the site but the deal is conditional on planning permission being granted for them to build a new store there.

That would have been impossible without the demolition of building which was “not fit for purpose” and had cells that did not meet current requirements.

Such was the concern that North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Chief Constable Carl Foulkes wrote a joint letter to Jason Thomas, the Director for Culture, Sport and Tourism at the Welsh Government asking for clarity.

They warned that if the demolition was blocked, the loss of the proceeds from the sale could have a “direct impact on the policing service in North Wales”.

In a letter Gwilym Hughes, the Deputy Director of Cadw, apologised for the delay in responding.

The letter said: “After very consideration I can confirm we do not consider that the building meets the criteria to be listed.

“We acknowledge that the building is a rare and unusual (possibly unique) example of slab and podium design in Wales which makes an expressive architectural statement.

“However, its form is associated with international modernism and, in undertaking a comparative assessment against other key examples, it has been therefore necessary to compare this building with other examples of the  of the same basic design principles from elsewhere within the UK.

“I can confirm the in the handling of form, materials and design, the building does not compare favourably with other buildings of similar design which are notably more sophisticated and elegant.

“We also not that the slab and podium form was not architecturally progressive or advanced by the time this building was completed in 1976 so on balance we do not consider that the building meets the criteria for listing as a key example of a post war civic building.

“That said, the building is clearly of interest and we were pleased to learn that the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales is in the process of negotiating access to survey the building so that it can be preserved by record.”

Mr Jones, a former police inspector, said: “We were pleased to hear the threat of this potential spanner in the works has been lifted.

“The financial climate is difficult enough as is so this is excellent news and I am grateful to Cadw for their common sense deliberations and decision.”