£6m town hall re­vamp re­vealed

Re­pairs and ex­ten­sion planned:

Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page - LIZ BRADFIELD liz.bradfield@reach­plc.com

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

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