AM's CASTLE BACKING

The Visitor
By Nick Ellis
7th November 2001

Janet Ryder lends her support to prevent Gwrych tragedy

AM's castle backing

The fight to save a crumbling castle stepped up a gear last week when a politician arrived at the sight to offer her support.

Assembly Member Janet Ryder visited Gwrych Castle in Abergele last Friday to discuss ways of preserving the historical site.

It was Ms Ryder's second visit to the castle this year and she met with Mark Baker and Chris Keeting, who are committee members working to save the grade one listed building from falling into further disrepair.

"The castle is a highly visible landmark in Abergele, and there is enormous public support for doing something - but the crumbling state of the building must be addressed first," she said.

"There is real potential to re-develop this building into a tourist attraction, not just for local people to enjoy, but to draw visitors into the area and boost the local economy."
The condition of the castle has deteriorated over the past 10 years with vandals and the elements having taken their toll.

There have been many complaints about motorcyclists using the grounds and Ms Ryder has written to the Chief Constable of North Wales, Richard Brunstrom, asking what steps the police can take to protect the Victorian Castle.
She will also write to CADW to find out what funding is available to preserve the remains of the building.
But one of the main problems any restoration of the castle would face is that it is situated on private land.

However many locals still use the area for walking and are annoyed by the damage which is being carried out.

Mark, who has written two books on the building, said it would be a shame if nothing was done to save the castle.
" My ideal aim would be to get the main building open to the public as it would make a great tourist attraction and I feel it is one of Abergele's main assets," he said.

Meanwhile, Chris has created a 42-page website about the castle, which explains the problems and its history.