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Historic building to be mothballed following emergency repairs

25 Mar 2024 3 minute read
The former YMCA building in Merthyr Tydfil. Picture via Google

Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter

An historic grade II listed building will be “effectively mothballed” for up to 10 years, allowing a new use for it to be considered.

The former YMCA building in Merthyr Tydfil opened in 1911 and has been occupied by the Board of Trade and the Labour Exchange and then became the District Education Offices, before falling into disuse.

Retrospective applications for planning and listed building consent have been lodged with the council in relation to emergency repairs at the building in Pontmorlais.

The applications are for work to stabilise and temporarily weatherproof the building, including the demolition of all oriel windows and the replacement of the existing temporary roof.

The heritage impact assessment submitted with the applications said alterations and repairs had last been completed in 2015, the intended lifespan of which was 18 months.

Immediate collapse

Recently, the extent of the building’s deterioration has been revealed, with parts of the building at risk of immediate collapse and there was a closure of the nearby road to enable emergency demolition of the south oriel window.

This dangerous condition resulted in the increased costs exceeding available funding and the council has reconsidered the building’s immediate future.

A revised emergency-works scheme was implemented, the building effectively being “mothballed” for the next seven to 10 years.

The heritage statement said this would enable a proposed new use to be considered in the meantime.

Structurally stable

The revised scheme included repairs to ensure the building is structurally stable, the replacement of the temporary roof with a more robust structure, alterations to the building and surrounding landscape to be limited to the minimum necessary to make them safe.

These works needed the co-operation of the adjacent landowner, the Masonic Temple, and its requirements were taken into consideration.

The statement said the benefits of the proposals are the YMCA now being structurally stable and secure, wind and watertight.

Another benefit, the statement said, is that it is capable of being restored with the majority of the terracotta and brickwork being carefully demolished and salvaged.

The heritage statement said the majority of these alterations were urgently necessary in the interest of safety or health, and for the preservation of the building.

It said they were completed following written notice to and discussion with both the council and Cadw, these justifying all proposed works in detail and as soon as reasonably practicable.

It said it was impossible to complete these without any negative impact upon the building’s heritage values or its setting and the only alternative was a potential collapse, with far greater adverse impact.

The heritage statement said while the building remains empty and unheated, regular future inspections are required to identify any ongoing deterioration.

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3 months ago

It’s been mothballed for over 40 years. The council will wait until it falls down like, they have with the rest of the towns historic buildings.

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