2000: The school buildings are used for the last time as Cowbridge Sixth Form moves to the new school site. A covenant is placed on the school meaning that it can only be used for educational purposes.
2018: The educational covenant is lifted and the site advertised for commercial development.
December 2018: Hafod Housing Association submit plans to demolish the school buildings and build a four storey block of 43 flats alongside 5 townhouses.
January 2019: The campaign against loss of the buildings is launched with overwhelming objection to Hafod’s proposals. Over 2,200 people signed a petition against the development and more than 1,400 objections were received by the Council.
February 2019: A request to spot the building is turned down by Cadw.
July 2019: An independent report by heritage consultant, Rob Scourfield, is submitted to Cadw demonstrating the historical, architectural and communal importance of the buildings. This includes the discovery that it was the first school to be built specifically for the intermediate (secondary) education of girls’ in Wales, and indeed the UK.
August 2019: Cadw decline to list the building on the basis that it has uPVC windows and overlook the significance of it being the first school built specifically for the secondary education of girls and the importance of the architect who has subsequently been recognised by the Dictionary of Welsh Biography as making a significant contribution to Welsh culture.
A rebuttal to Cadw’s decision based on the fact that numerous buildings have been listed despite having uPVC windows.
September 2019: The Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Sir Dafydd Elis-Thomas, declines a request for a peer review on the decision not to list the school but endorses Cadw’s recommendation that the school is named as a ‘County Treasure’ and its significance considered when determining the application for its demolition.
September 2019: Cowbridge residents request a meeting with Hafod to discuss options for retaining the building for conversion into social housing. Offers by the group to secure heritage funding to make conversion financial viable are refused, despite numerous examples of this occurring throughout Wales.
13th September 2019: The school is listed by the Victorian Society on their ‘Top 10 Endangered Buildings’ list for 2019. Christopher Costelloe, Director of the Victorian Society, said: ‘Cowbridge School is a beautifully crafted building, solid, handsome and capable of being reused. Its thoughtless demolition would be a huge blow to the town.’
15th November 2019: At a meeting chaired by Jane Hutt MS, a few of the campaign group meet with Jas Bains (Hafod CEO) and chief planner, Kate Cutter. Options for retention of the building were discussed and examples provided where additional funding has been sourced to assist in the conversion of historic buildings into social housing. The strength of feeling against loss of the building was acknowledged and assurances given that Hafod would not ‘bulldoze’ its way through the town.
January 2020: Hafod submit revised plans for site which still include the complete demolition of the entire school.
March 2020: A petition with more than 5,500 signatures collected in just 6 weeks is presented to the Senedd Petitions Committee requesting an indpendent peer review is sought from the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism over the decision not to list the school.
March 2020: A group of more than 20 senior professionals and academics in the field of history, architecture, archaeology and conservation write to the Deputy Minister supporting listing of the school buildings.
October 2020: SAVE Britain’s Heritage unveil alternative plans for the school site which would retain the existing buidlings and convert them for social housing. Their plans allow for more units to be provided, with more residential amenity space and more ‘walk up’ units, which is particularly important for mental and physical health (more relevant in light of the ongoing pandemic).
February 2021: Notification is given by the Vale of Glamorgan Council that the planning application will now go forward to the Planning Committee. A 21 day public consultation period opens.
March 2021: A formal complaint is registered with the Welsh Government over the handling of the request to list the school based on information obtained during a Freedom of Information Request. Further information revealed that the case reviewer had failed to disclose significant conflicts of interests raising questions over the selection process.
April 2021: The Senedd Petitions Committee confirm that the petition will be handed over to the next Committee to consider following the election and formation of a new Government.
September 2021: The petition is considered again by the Senedd Petitions Committee and they agree to write to Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sports to seek her opinion on the listing decision. Once again she fails to acknowledge the overwhelming expert opinion and refuses to reconsider the decision – read her response here.
November 2021: The Senedd Petitions Committee considers the Deputy Minister’s response and agrees to put forward the petition for debate. Watch the discussion here.
January 2022: A petition signed by 3,151 campaign supporters in objection to the demolition of the school is submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council planning department.