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Campaigners launch appeal to save storm-hit roof ahead of £5.2m development

CONSERVATION campaigners are aiming to ‘Raise the Roof’ and carry out emergency work on a North Wales landmark.

A series of storms over past weeks accelerated the need for crucial replacement and repairs to the roof of the Grade II-listed John Summers Clock Tower in Deeside.
Enbarr Foundation director Vicki Roskams and fellow ‘Guardians’ have set up a CrowdFunding page in a bid to reach their target of £350,000 and are appealing for builders’ merchants, roofing firms and industrial suppliers to help with materials and labour, including felt and wooden beams and batons.

More than £600,000 in grants and financial support for the £5.2m site revamp has been secured over the last 18 months from organisations including Welsh Government, Transport for Wales, the National Lottery, the Welsh Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), Comic Relief, Architectural Heritage, CADW, Parc Adfer and Flintshire County Council.

But Vicki says this capital is largely earmarked for other areas of the project.

“The grants we have received in past months are for the basement and building itself, not the roof,” said Vicki.

“We have patched it up as much as possible following years of vandalism and decay but the storms and bad weather throughout Winter have had a major impact and mean we need a permanent solution, and quickly.

“There is no way the roof will make it through another year in its current state, there is significant work to be done and we need experts in to do it, so we are appealing to local businesses and suppliers to get in touch.”

She added: “As more funding comes in there will be opportunities to work together in the future, and anyone who comes to our aid will be able to use the facilities and services for free on completion, but for now we are relying on kindness and generosity.”

With the support of new directors including former Tata Steel apprentice and now Ethikos Group CEO Scott Davis, and Charlotte Summers – great-great-great granddaughter of the Victorian steel magnate John Summers – she is confident they will find a solution and is calling on the community and volunteers to get behind them like never before.

“We have received incredible support since day one, and made huge progress over the last few years,” said Vicki.

“But ultimately, if the roof is in a bad state of disrepair and letting in rain it affects the whole building and will become a safety concern going forward.

“Construction is now underway on-site, but this is our priority; this is the centre-point of this area, bringing people together and providing a beacon of hope for so many who have experienced so many challenges in recent times, including the pandemic.

“This is a critical stage for the development so please get in touch if you can pledge your assistance – we hugely appreciate any help you can give us.”

The John Summer Clock Tower building opened in 1907 and was home to the general office of Shotton Steelworks – now Tata Steel – on the banks of the River Dee, before closing in 2009 and falling into serious disrepair after being sold by the company.

Plans for the site include a community hub, heritage skills and training centre, café, library, woodland garden, live events venue and much more.

The committee is currently recruiting for a project officer and a project manager, and celebrating new partnerships with organisations including Procure Plus, Coleg Cambria, Toyota and Forces Fitness.