WELSH heritage guardians Cadw have warned that knocking down a 200-year-old wall at Gwrych Castle without special planning permission is a criminal offence, after a Conwy councillor demolished part of the structure. Conwy council has said it is “making enquiries” after Cllr Andrew Wood admitted demolishing a section of the boundary wall off Eldon Drive in Abergele.
Cadw has said it is now up to Conwy council whether it will take action over the damage to the dwarf wall near Manorafon Farm Park. A Cadw spokesperson said: “The estate boundary wall at Gwrych Castle is listed grade-two as a vital element in the setting of the grade-one listed castle, one of the few mostly complete park boundaries in Wales, and, with its lodges, a monument of special interest in the history of the picturesque movement.
“It is a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building without listed building consent. It is a matter for the local planning authority to consider what action to take where there is a breach of listed building control.”
A spokeswoman for Conwy council said the matter was being investigated. “Officers are making enquiries about the concerns that have been raised and they are in discussions with the owner who has made arrangements for the wall to be repaired and for the stonework to be reinstated,” she said.
The land was once part of the original Gwrych Castle estate but is now owned by Cllr Wood. Earlier this week, Cllr Wood, a member of Conwy’s planning committee, said he had demolished the wall whilst working with Cadw, claiming the damage was caused by a third-party vehicle.
He claimed Welsh Water had needed to dig under the wall and said the wall was crumbling and unsafe. Speaking on Thursday, Cllr Wood said: “I undertook to use the finances from the allotments and campervans to maintain and repair the wall, as I explained in my original statement.
“Cadw are aware of this and have passed comment that repairs and ongoing maintenance would be done. Welsh Water has assessed the trench as being deep enough for the supply. Yesterday we awaited the underground connection.
“The stone masons that were due and booked in March to repair the damaged wall have been brought forward to undertake repairs starting next week due to public concern. Hopefully as the wall is being raised, it will take no more than one week to complete.”
The local democracy reporting service understands that Cllr Wood has been told by Conwy’s officers that repairs must restore the wall to its original height and stone, using a lime mortar to match the existing wall in colour and texture. He has also been told not to proceed with work until the details of the repair work have been checked.