|Date||6 October 2012|
|Location||Treborth, Bangor||SH 55020 70799; 53.21440°N, 4.17263°W|
Richard Davies (1818-1896) was born in Llangefni, Anglesey and was involved in the family timber-importing business, which grew to become a major ship-owning concern. Davies was a Nonconformist, served as MP for Anglesey from 1868 to 1886, and became Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey in 1884. He purchased the Treborth Isaf estate in 1867 and built a mansion house there around the 1870s. Davies also built the stone bridge over the Chester and Holyhead Railway to provide access from Treborth Hall to what was then Britannia Park — now Bangor University’s Treborth Botanical Garden — and the Menai Bridge. Both the house and the railway bridge received Grade II listings in 1997.
At a cost of around £15,000, the Victorian ship owner’s mansion was converted in 1950 into a residential special-needs school, known as Ysgol Treborth. The school changed its name in 2000 to Ysgol Coed Menai and its residential facility was discontinued in 2003, since which time two floors of the house remained unused. Ysgol Coed Menai had a capacity for forty-five 9- to16-year-old pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, and it served the counties of Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy.
In 2002, essential work on the buildings on health and safety grounds was identified that would then have cost more than £2 million; the annual running cost of the school in 2012 was £800,000; and, on account of serious educational failings, school inspectors placed the school in the ‘special measures’ category between 2007 and 2009. With parents refusing to send their children to the school, only 25 pupils were on its register at the start of 2012.
In the face of these concerns over the suitability of the site, its cost effectiveness, and the standards of education at the school, Gwynedd Council decided in February 2012 to commence the statutory consultation process for the closure of Ysgol Coed Menai. In line with the Council’s ‘inclusion strategy’ the service provided by the establishment was to be replaced by individual behaviour units in mainstream secondary schools together with a new Pupil Referral Unit. Pupils and teachers left the school at the end of the 2011/2012 academic year and its official closure is scheduled for summer 2013.