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January 22nd 2003

By Justine Bailey, Abergele Visitor

A BUSINESSMAN has shown a strong interest in buying a crumbling castle which has been neglected for many years by its current owner.

The future of Abergele's Gwrych Castle was given a glim -mer of hope on Sunday when the Chester businessman made a trip to view the landmark. Halls Auctioneers, of Chester, has been obtaining information about the castle on his behalf.

"He spotted Gwrych Castle while he was travelling to Holy -head on the train," said spokes -woman Katie Griffiths, who said she could not name the potential buyer at this stage.He is very interested in castles and bought one in Ireland which he has opened to the public. I think his intentions for Gwrych Castle would be very much the same if he were to buy it."

Mark Baker, who has been campaigning for years to save the castle, welcomed the news. He said he hoped if the sale was made, the businessman would do more with it than the current owner of 14 years, American Nick Tavaglione.

"It would be great if this man could take things forward," said Mr Baker. "It would be fantastic to see it renovated and open to the pub -lic. The only stumbling block is Mr Tavaglione who has been reluctant to sell in the past."

Several attempts have been made in recent months to estab lish if Mr Tavaglione plans to do anything with the castle. However, he has failed to give definite answers and as a result Conwy Council is considering compulsory purchase.

A feasibility study will be started soon to look into viable options for the castle. A meeting was held on Monday between the head of Conwy Council, Clwyd West AM Alun Pugh and representatives fro m C A D W, the Architectural Heriitage Fund and Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust to discuss both these issues.

©Mark Baker 2003