As if Wales hasn’t lost enough country houses already, another is currently under threat of demolition.
Plas Dulas, in Llanddulas, Conwy is currently in a poor state but restorable if swift action was taken. Built in the 1840s, and visited by Evelyn Waugh, it is remarkable in that the whole estate is complete including gardens, gatehouse, walled garden, and stables.
A local couple, James and Caroline Burt, who have successfully restored another local house into a hotel, made an initial offer of £250k to the owner, who bought the house and estate for £190k in 2002. According to Mrs Burt, the owner, Alex Davies, replied ‘If you’re not willing to talk around £1m then I’m just going to leave if for another eight years and let it fall down’. A thoroughly crass and ignorant approach, I’m sure you’ll agree. Mr Davies is determined to press ahead with his plan, which has been submitted to the council for approval, to demolish the house and destroy the estate with 29 houses.
He has claimed that it would cost £1.5m to restore the house but it’s highly unlikely that it would cost this and is more likely a randomly high figure plucked from the air to justify his vandalism.
The Victorian Society and the renowned local campaigner Mark Baker have both objected but unfortunately CADW is unable to get involved due to its unduly narrow focus as to what is worth saving.
So, hope appears to rest with the local council, national and local pressure, and a miracle conversion for Mr Davies from vandal to someone who appreciates his local heritage.
‘Campaign to save Llanddulas landmark famous author visited‘ [North Wales Weekly News]
‘Couple go to Waugh over future of historic mansion‘ [WalesOnline]