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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Hotel vision for Gothic hall
Hafodunos Hall
Hafodunos Hall was designed in the 1860s
A Gothic hall which has fallen into disrepair could be restored to its former glory in a multimillion pound venture.

The 19th Century Grade 1 listed Hafodunos Hall, in Llangernyw, north Wales, has lain empty for more than a decade and been vandalised in places.

But now a developer is applying for permission to turn it into a hotel and restore its 15 acres of gardens.

Conwy Council has confirmed it is aware of the transformation plans.

Hafodunos Hall was designed by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was commissioned by the Sandbach family in the 1860s on the site of a manor house dating back to the reign of Charles I.

The architect's other works include London's St Pancras Hotel, and the Albert Memorial, in Kensington Gardens.

The grounds of the hall were designed by Kew Gardens director William Hooker.

My hope is that Hafodunos can come back to life again
John Rochelle

The hall has had recent spells as a boarding school and an accountancy college, but has fallen into decline over the last decade.

John Rochelle, from SFJ Ltd, in Colwyn Bay, who is behind the plans, says the house "needs to be preserved, to be brought back to life again".

"It is in a pretty terrible state at the moment - but if it is allowed to deteriorate more, it will go past the point of return.

"This is one of the most important buildings in Wales - the stunning design and craftsmanship are absolutely superb.

"It will be impossible to halt the deterioration without spending millions of pounds on it - this wonderful building is not going to just stand there and maintain itself.

"The vandals and the thieves have already been here and all the fireplaces have been stolen - it's such a mess.

'Breathing space'

"My hope is that Hafodunos can come back to life again," said Mr Rochelle, who says the development will cost 'millions' but would also create 30 jobs.

Conwy Council confirmed that it was aware of the plans to transform the hall and that it was expecting a planning application.

A spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the developer's intentions.

"Once we get the full application, the plans can go out to consultation."

Welsh heritage body Cadw added that listed status would not necessarily prevent plans to turn the hall into a hotel, although it will also require listed building consent.

"Listing is not designed to hinder progress. It provides breathing space to allow planners or developers opportunity to consider the historic or architectural importance of a building," added the spokesperson.


SEE ALSO:
'Invisible' work at historic castle
13 Jan 04  |  South East Wales
Drawbridge unearthed at castle
30 Oct 03  |  South West Wales
1m haunted house for sale
09 Sep 03  |  South East Wales


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