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Arts venue forced to close as transfer plans fall through

13 May 2024 2 minute read
The Red House in Merthyr. Photo by Robin Drayton is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

A popular community arts venue has been forced to close after plans to transfer the building from a leisure trust fell through.

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association said that following discussions with Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust (MTLT) around the proposed transfer of the arts venue to the housing association, it has come to the difficult decision that it is “unable to progress” with the proposed transfer and the building and the business operations still remain with MTLT.

On Tuesday, April 30, Merthyr Tydfil’s leisure and cultural services returned to the council from the trust with the Redhouse set to return to its owners Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association.

Liabilities

But the statement from Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association said: “We have been unable to gain detailed information from the leisure trust to allow us to understand the full liabilities that would likely transfer.

“This was not an easy decision but with further due diligence, the Redhouse liabilities would have put MTHA’s financial sustainability at risk and we must consider the wider impact on our business.

“We have not made this decision lightly and we have tried to consider all other options available to us in order to secure the employment of the eight staff members at the leisure trust.

“Staff job security has always been our key aim, alongside being able to maintain the Redhouse for use by the community. However, the concerns that we have suggest that these transferring costs and liabilities could have a detrimental impact on our current staffing group and our organisation as a whole, and this is not a risk that we are able to consider.”

‘Wonderful’

Merthyr Tydfil Council leader Councillor Geraint Thomas said: “We have learned that Redhouse has had to close its doors and that jobs are at risk.

“Redhouse is a wonderful centre for culture, which is used by a cross-section of members of our community.

“Redhouse is owned by Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association, however the facility is currently leased to, and being managed by, Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust. We will support both parties in finding a solution.”


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