"It's too late for the Tudno Castle Hotel," say Victorian Society

Reporter:

Patrick Glover

A “BOTCHED” job is being blamed for the need to demolish a Grade II listed site in Llandudno.

The Tudno Castle Hotel in Llandudno is set to be completely demolished despite earlier plans to retain the original façade while erecting a new hotel, restaurants and retail outlets.

The Victorian Society, which had strong objections to the original plans, released a statement today which said this complete demolition could have been avoided and the developers and local authorities are to blame.

“When work began, it was discovered that the façade was not solid masonry, but rather poorly bonded, random masonry infilled with rubble,” the release said.

“It is baffling that so fundamental a defect – one which would literally make-or-break the scheme - was not discovered prior to the granting of approval.

“To make matters worse, despite the discovery, demolition continued to the point that façade retention is no longer considered viable.”

The Victorian Society said with the new demolition plans it it destroying what remains of the heritage listed building.

The society objected to the original application for partial demolition in 2014 as we deemed it to be lacking in almost all areas.

While that scheme would have resulted in the substantial loss of one of Llandudno’s prime Victorian buildings, it would at least have preserved a vestige of it in the retained façade.

The society said the questionable process of the last three years has now left the fragmentary remains of the building bordering on collapse.

Anna Shelley, Victorian Society conservation adviser, said: “The complete demolition of the Tudno Castle Hotel was entirely avoidable, and the plans could have been revised and reconsidered at various stages in the assessment process.

“All those responsible – particularly developer and Local Authority – should take a good hard look at themselves. How has this been allowed to happen?”

The new application for total demolition proposes the rebuilding of the façade ‘like-for-like’, though even here the society believes the details are lacking in terms of design quality and the proposed materiality.

They are hoping conservation architects with experience and expertise are brought on board to assist in salvaging this sorry state of affairs.

“The construction of a faithful and historically sensitive new façade is the only thing that could now make good at least some of the harm caused by the sustained disregard for this heritage asset,” the statement added.

“It is now altogether too late for the Tudno Castle Hotel.

“Llandudno is justly famed as a peerless and astonishingly well preserved Victorian seaside resort. The sad fate of the Tudno Castle Hotel has resulted in irreversibly diminishing its interest.”

The developers will be approached for comment.

 

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