Council chiefs say part of the former North Wales Hospital in Denbigh will have to be demolished after a major fire left it ”beyond repair”.
More than 40 firefighters were called out to the Grade II-listed psychiatric unit after a blaze broke out in a wing of the main building at around 3am on Friday morning. A joint investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing.
North Wales Fire Service said the hospital was in an unsafe condition after the roof collapsed and crews would remain at the scene to extinguish the fire.
Denbighshire County Council said it was contained within a wing which had been earmarked for restoration and redevelopment as part of plans to build 200 new homes and 34 apartments.
The site has been at the centre of a long-running legal battle with former owners Freemont, whose plans for new housing fell through. A council spokesman said the authority still intended to complete a compulsory purchase order so it can be transferred onto the North Wales Building Preservation Trust, who are creating a business plan.
The spokesman added: ”We are shocked and appalled at the actions of those who have caused so much damage to a site that we have been trying to protect for many years, pursuing every legal option to try to achieve a sustainable outcome for the site. It is reckless behaviour which also puts lives at risk and we urge people to stay away from the site.”
The hospital has been targeted by arsonists on numerous occasions since it was closed in 1996. In April this year, police patrols around the site was stepped up amid rumours of plans for an illegal rave.