Former North Wales Hospital - Denbigh

The Former North Wales Hospital was built in 1844-8, to provide care for Welsh speaking people suffering from mental illnesses. It was extended in the 1860s and again in the 20th century and by 1956 there were 1500 patients. The Health Authority announced closure in 1987 and the last patient left in 1995. Since then, the abandoned site has fallen into a serious state of disrepair.

The main hospital building is Grade II* listed and is described as "an exceptionally fine and pioneering example of early Victorian asylum architecture". 

With the support of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, local elected Community and County Council Members, we have been working very hard in recent years to find a solution for the site so that the important listed buildings can be restored and the whole site brought back to a beneficial use including, employment, apprenticeships, housing and community use.

The site of the former North Wales Hospital is in a serious state of disrepair. We discourage anyone from entering the buildings in the interests of their own safety.

Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO)

In September 2013, the Council’s Planning Committee voted in favour of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the former North Wales Hospital, after the owners, Freemont (Denbigh) Limited failed to comply with a Repairs Notice which required them to carry out significant repairs to the buildings on site.

The CPO requires that the current owners sell the building to Denbighshire County Council, who will in turn, transfer ownership of the site to the North Wales Building Preservation Trust - a not for profit registered charity.

The North Wales Building Preservation Trust (NWBPT) are, and will continue to be, supported by the Prince's Regeneration Trust, to drive forward the appropriate high quality redevelopment of the site.

In September 2015, the CPO was successfully granted to the Council by the Welsh Government. To secure ownership and take possession of the site, it is a lengthy legal process but the Council is determined to do whatever is necessary to secure the redevelopment of this strategically important listed building.

Recent developments

  • Planning Committee agrees to authorise the serving of a General Vested Declaration, the latest step in the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process.
  • Denbighshire firm Jones Bros, in partnership with the North Wales Building Preservation Trust (NWBPT), have been selected to take ownership of the site, once the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is concluded. NWBPT is a charitable body created for the purpose of saving historic buildings for the public benefit and were set up with the support of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust.
  • In September 2015, a CPO was successfully granted to the Council.
  • In March 2016, an application by the site owner to overturn the CPO was refused by the High Court.
  • In May 2016, the site was put up for auction by the current owners and was not sold.
  • A planning application was submitted by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust seeking permission to convert / restore/ part demolish the main range buildings to apartments and to allow mixed use development in the grounds for enabling purposes (up to 200 residential units and business units). The listed building application seeks consent to part demolish the rear sections of the main Grade II* building and to demolish other buildings at the rear of the main block. 
    Both applications were granted subject to conditions.

Who are the current owners of the former North Wales Hospital site?

The site is currently owned by Freemont (Denbigh) Limited, an off-shore company based in the British Virgin Islands.

The Council have never knowingly met the owner of the site but the owners have an agent based in the UK.

We are not the owners of the site.

What is Denbighshire County Council’s interest in the site?

Denbigh Hospital is an important grade 2* (two star) listed building set within an extensive site. There are a number of other listed buildings within the site but the Council’s focus has always been on securing the restoration of the most important listed building. The hospital was closed in 1995 and since then it has had two owners. Since closure it has suffered from neglect, vandalism and theft. It is now in an extremely dilapidated state.

The present owner, who has owned the site for approximately 14 years, has allowed all of the buildings to deteriorate and a decision was made for Denbighshire County Council to compulsory purchasing the site using powers available to local authorities under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

The compulsory purchase process can be complex and lengthy. Significant progress has been made and the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) has been confirmed by the Welsh Government.

Denbighshire County Council have not yet implemented the order but expect to do so by Spring 2017, when transfer the site to the North Wales Building Preservation Trust (NWBPT)

Denbighshire County Council and NWBPT have been supported throughout this process by the Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT).

What are the future proposals for the site?

Once Denbighshire County Council have implemented the CPO and taken ownership of the site it will be immediately transferred to the NWBPT who will re-develop the site and restore the main range listed buildings.

Former North Wales Hospital - Proposed Development (PDF, 310KB) 

Why has it taken so long to rescue the site?

Trying to save the important listed buildings and the site has been a long and complicated issue. Our main concern has always been to preserve the main range historic buildings on the site. The work that we have already undertaken, including the securing of the CPO have been the most complex ever undertaken on a listed building in Wales.

Can I visit the former the North Wales Hospital site?

No, you should not go anywhere near the buildings or even on the site.

Anyone who goes onto the site without permission is trespassing.

How can I play a part in supporting the former North Wales Hospital site?

There is a vision for the site that has been developed in partnership by Denbighshire County Council, PRT, NWBPT and has involved some community consultation/engagement including providing the town council with regular updates.

The Council’s expectation is that once NWBPT take possession they will work with the local community to help further develop the vision and implement the much needed re-development of the site. The re-development of the site led by NWBPT presents a tremendous opportunity for the local community in terms of construction jobs, apprenticeships during the re-development phase and in the medium and longer term there will be community facilities on site and economic benefits for the town of Denbigh.