North Wales Hospital, Denbigh

Stunning example of Victorian architecture that has been closed for two decades.

The former North Wales Hospital was built in 1844-8 to provide care for Welsh speaking people suffering from mental illnesses and who had previously been sent to asylums in England. It was later extended in the 1860s and again in the 20th century. In 1956 there were 1,500 patients, but in 1987 the health authority announced its closure and the last patient left in 1995. The main hospital building is Grade II* listed and is described as “an exceptionally fine and pioneering example of early Victorian asylum architecture”. 

We have been working closely with Denbighshire County Council for many years to rescue these important buildings.  

The owner obtained outline planning permission in 2006 but did not develop the site and the buildings deteriorated to the point that they were at risk of collapse. The Council had to serve an urgent works notice and carry out a complex and expensive programme of emergency maintenance to ensure the listed buildings survived.

We have written a route map for the Council, to set out the issues and how, step-by-step, the buildings can be saved and adapted for new uses. We have supported the Council in preparing a masterplan, we established a steering group, commissioned a business plan and valuation, and assisted the Council in securing the necessary specialist legal advice.

In the autumn of 2014, PRT submitted a planning application on behalf of the council for the redevelopment of the site into a mixed-use development involving new homes, employment space and community facilities.

In October 2015, the Welsh Government confirmed a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) served on the owners of the site following a lengthy public inquiry on the issue. The Inquiry was held earlier in 2015 after the owner challenged the CPO. The CPO requires the owner to sell the building to Denbighshire County Council, who will then transfer ownership of the site to the newly-formed North Wales Building Preservation Trust. The Trust will be supported by PRT to drive forward the redevelopment of the site.

In May 2016, PRT is continuing to work alongside the Denbigh County Council and the North Wales Building Preservation Trust following the successful  compulsory purchase of this prominent listed site, which had been allowed to fall into a derelict state. Detailed plans have been drawn up for the regeneration scheme, including the restoration and conversion of the most important historic buildings.

We are hugely optimistic that there is a viable and valuable future for this special site.