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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Campaign to list Queen's Arcade
Steve and Jo Francis outside the Queen's Arcade
Steve and Jo Francis say it would be a "tragedy" to lose the building
A couple are campaigning to have one of Rhyl's most historic buildings listed to protect it from major redevelopment in the Denbighshire town.

The body responsible for protecting historic Welsh buildings, Cadw, has said the Queen's Arcade does not meet the criteria for listing.

Steve and Jo Francis fear it is inevitable the property will be demolished like others around it.

Denbighshire Council said there were no current plans to destroy the building.

Mr and Mrs Francis, from Rhyl, started collecting signatures in the town on Wednesday.

The building, which once housed a hotel, theatre and ballroom, dates back to the early 1900s and is currently used as a shopping arcade.

Its ballroom had a sprung maple dance floor that could accommodate 2.000 couples, even having British Champions dance there
Steve Francis

But the couple, who both have ancestors who worked at the building in its hey day last century, fear its days are numbered as Rhyl undergoes a series of re-developments.

Mr Francis said: "We'd like to see it restored to its former glory.

"It will be a tragedy if we lose this piece of Rhyl's heritage. It's one of the last original buildings on the promenade, virtually everything else has gone."

He added: "In its hey day this place was huge. It had a theatre that had all the stars of the time including Laurel and Hardy, Cliff Richard, Italia Conti, Anne Heywood and Julie Andrews.

"Its ballroom had a sprung maple dance floor that could accommodate 2.000 couples, even having British Champions dance there."

It is unfortunate, but by it's very nature, listed status can only be given to special buildings
Cadw spokesman

Mrs Francis, whose grandfather Joseph moved from Liverpool to manage the hotel's ballroom in 1943, said: "I can't imagine how my grandfather would have felt to see it in its current state.

"We're getting a lot of support. More than 250 people have signed the petition already."

A spokesperson for Cadw, the assembly government's historic environment service, said buildings need to have a special architectural or historical significance to be listed.

An inspector recently visited the arcade and determined that due to the many alterations made since it opened in 1902, the arcade did not meet the listing criteria.

"It is unfortunate, but by it's very nature, listed status can only be given to special buildings," the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Denbighshire Council, said: "There are currently no plans for the demolition of the Queen's Arcade, Rhyl.

"Earlier this year, Denbighshire's cabinet agreed to work with the Welsh Assembly Government on the Rhyl Town Centre Redevelopment proposal, and officers of both organisations are now conducting a feasibility study to see how this can be taken forward.

"The proposal is a block of land which features two listed buildings, The George Public House, and the Sussex St Baptist Church, and these have not been considered part of it."


SEE ALSO
Plan to demolish funfair approved
15 May 07 |  North East Wales
'End of funfair' plan submitted
22 Dec 06 |  North East Wales
The fun may be over at Rhyl fair
12 Oct 06 |  North East Wales
Millions towards seaside facelift
26 May 05 |  North East Wales
Fun ride leaves five stranded
24 Mar 05 |  North East Wales

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