Who are Hafod Housing Association?
Hafod Housing Association are a not-for-profit company and leading social housing provider in South Wales. They are committed to Making Lives Better.
Why are they planning to demolish Wales’ Victorian Treasure?
In December 2018 Hafod submitted plans to redevelop the site of the former Intermediate School for Girls’ which involved demolition of the school in its entirety.
The community of Cowbridge welcomed redevelopment of the site and the additional provision of social housing in the town, however, there was overwhelming objection to the loss of this historic asset. More than 2,300 people signed a petition against the school’s demolition and more than 1,400 letters of objection were submitted against the planning application.
Despite constructive discussions between the community and Hafod CEO Jas Bains and their chief planner regarding retention of the school, new plans were submitted in January 2020 which still involved complete loss of the school buildings.
Hafod state that their ‘Values’ underpin everything that they do, however, the community feels that submission of new proposals to demolish the school goes against their stated values of ‘RESPECT’ and ‘WORKING TOGETHER’. You can find out more about their values here: https://www.hafod.org.uk/about/
Do they need to demolish the building in order to provide housing?
In short, no. Thus far no evidence has been presented as to why demolition is necessary. Whilst financial viability has been referred to, no evidence has been made available to support this. Requests by the community to explore options for additional heritage funding for conversion have failed to materialise, despite there being numerous cases across Wales where historic buildings have been converted into social housing using heritage funding.
Further evidence that historic buildings can be converted for social housing is demonstrated in Hafod’s recent conversion of the former Intermediate Girls School in Aberdare, about which they are quite rightly proud. You can read more about this here: https://www.hafod.org.uk/new-homes-bring-new-purpose-to-aberdare-girls-school/