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Costs more than double for new Pontardawe cinema

28 Jun 2021 2 minutes Read
Pontardawe Arts Centre. Image via Google

Hannah Neary, local democracy reporter

The construction of a new cinema at Pontardawe Arts Centre is expected to cost double the original estimated figure.

Neath Port Talbot Council agreed to invest £500,000 in building a 70-seat cinema at the arts centre in November 2019 – but the project now requires a further £600,000.

Pontardawe Arts Centre opened in May 1909 and was first known as the Pontardawe Public Hall and Institute.

At the time the town’s civic leaders wanted to “provide an opening for the introduction of best literary and musical talent which will have an inspiring and elevating influence on the life of the place”.

Workers

Like many buildings constructed in Wales during this era, the arts centre was paid for by the workers through a subscription scheme.

The historic building featured a 1,500 seat theatre, meeting rooms, offices, a billiard hall, library and reading rooms.

After years of neglect, the centre reopened in 1996 housing a new box office, the Oriel Lliw Art Gallery, a dance studio, meeting rooms and offices, the snooker hall, a theatre bar, the auditorium and town cinema.

The previously agreed cost of the new cinema was based on estimates by consultants employed by the Arts Council for Wales. Bristol-based architects Childs Sulzmann were appointed to develop the project in September 2020 and have requested more than double the previous estimate to complete the works.

According to a report by Andrew Thomas, the council’s director of education, leisure and lifelong learning, the budget estimated cost for cinema is £1,317,076, with an extra £100,000 contingency figure.

The council’s cabinet is set to decide whether to allocate the extra £600,000 towards the project during a meeting on Wednesday June 30.

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