£1.3 million plan to revamp former BBC studio takes big step forward
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A £1.3 million renovation of the former BBC studios in Swansea has taken a major step forward.
The investment in Dylan Thomas House will create modern recording studios and office space for up to 23 creative workers.
The University of Wales Trinity David (UWTSD), which leases the three-storey building from Swansea Council, was planning to take forward the project after securing £900,000 of European funding.
But a report before Swansea cabinet members said the scheme had been delayed and that the council had been approached by the Welsh Government to get involved to avoid the risk of UWTSD losing the grant.
Joint venture talks got under way, and cabinet has now agreed to deliver the revamp in partnership with the university.
The report said the council won’t be liable for costs, but that it would secure £400,000 from UWTSD to make up the shortfall before work started.
The report said the revamped studios would have “acoustics unmatched in Wales” and support up to six small to medium-sized businesses.
It added: “Upgrades and enhancements to the internal and external fabric of the building will result in its return to full economic and sustainable use.”
Dylan Thomas House was built in 1899 as part of a grand boulevard that became Alexandra Road. A series of buildings were designed in a classical and baroque revival style, including the adjacent Glynn Vivian Art Gallery.
Destroyed during the Second World War, Dylan Thomas House was rebuilt by the BBC in the 1950s.
But over the years water ingress and structural issues have developed. The council leased it to UWTSD for 25 years in in 2009.
The two organisations will now enter into a legal agreement to cover the delivery of the project after cabinet approved a series of recommendations.
The council is also behind £8 million plans to revamp the nearby Albert Hall into a live music venue, office space and serviced apartments.
A spokeswoman for UWTSD said it was a leading provider of music technology education.
“The university has been working in close partnership with Swansea Council to further strengthen the creative industries sector in south west Wales,” she said.
“Supporting and creating future talent through a combination of world-class facilities and training is an important part of the university’s work to boost the economy and create high-quality jobs.”