£6m town hall revamp revealed
Repairs and extension planned:
PLANS for a £6m redevelopment of Maesteg Town Hall have been unveiled.
The town hall, which is 137 years old, is used as a theatre with a programme of professional and amateur performances.
It also provides rehearsal and meeting space for local groups and organisations.
The plans involve a major repair programme to the building as well as providing additional facilities in an extension.
Toni Cosson, from the Awen Cultural Trust, which runs the town hall, said the extension would enable greater access for people in wheelchairs and those with pushchairs.
She said: “A key factor of the redevelopment is the accessibility of the hall.
“People should be able to access it regardless of their mobility or whether they have got pushchairs or buggies.
“At the moment, due to the steps at the front of the building, their access is through a lift at the back of the hall which was built as a trade entrance.”
Plans for the new extension include a studio theatre, improved backstage age facilities and accessible entrance for props and equipment, as well as a new bar and kitchen, a box office, cafe, library and a heritage centre.
Toni said: “At the moment, because the he auditorium is so big, , you lose the feeling of intimacy in some comedy or drama performances.
“A smaller studio theatre will give us lots of opportunities – we will be able to have a regular cinema where we can show ow the latest blockbusters ers and local groups can use the space for rehearsals.
“We are planning to bring in the town’s two libraries and have a space with lots of new technology, a children’s area and a meeting space.”
She added: “Many people have asked why glass is being used – it is a Cadw requirement, in order to see the listed building.” Town hall box office and marketing assistant Aled Williams said: “At the moment we haven’t got a foyer – once you’re through the doors, you’re in the theatre – and our box office is in the library, about 200 yards away. When there’s an audience of 600, which is the capacity, we can’t open until half an hour before the show, which means people are waiting on the steps – if it’s raining, that’s not ideal.”
He added: “Thrree of the four sides of the town hall are going to look exactly the same but restored, the glass extension is on one side. “If the town hall isn’t fixed, we have 10 years before it will be unsafe – it desperately needs to be repaired.” As part of the planned repairs, the slate roof will be lifted with a breathable membrane installed and the slates relaid to deal with longstanding issues with rainwater ingress. A public consultation on the plans took place in a unit at the outdoor market. The plans sparked controversy when first fir announced last la year when it was reveale revealed the revamp revam would no not includ include the in indoo door marma ket , which ha has been there ther from the start. The last trader left th the indoor market earlier this th year, with many takin taking units in the outdoor ma market next to the building. A planning applicatio application
is likely to be submitted to Bridgend County Borough Council in early autumn once the full funding has been confirmed.
Maesteg West councillor Ross Penhale-Thomas said: “The town hall is the jewel in the crown of Maesteg, with a very proud history, so I am not surprised that there has been a flurry of social media activity surrounding the plans.
“This project represents the biggest single investment in the valley for years and will ensure it has a bright future.
“Should the project go ahead with the complete funding package, it will put the hall on the arts and culture map not just regionally, but nationally.”
Funding grants are currently being finalised with the Heritage Lottery Fund, Bridgend County Borough Council, the European Union and the Welsh Government.
An artist’s impression of plans to develop Maesteg Town Hall
Maesteg Town Hall