Multi-million renovation plans announced for YMCA at Merthyr Tydfil
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
The council has announced plans to bring the YMCA building in Merthyr Tydfil back into use as offices.
More than £8m is set to go towards turning the building into commercial space.
The Grade II Listed building, which has been derelict for more than a decade, will have £8.6m spent on it from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Heritage Enterprise Programme, Welsh Government’s Building for the Future and Transforming Towns programmes, and from the council.
The council said the aim is to turn the YMCA into 10 separate letting units covering 954 square metres in “high-quality commercial space in a uniquely historic setting,” bringing the building back into use for businesses and the local community.
It said the project will transform the building into an “inspirational hub for economic and social activity in the heart of Merthyr Tydfil”.
Cabinet member for regeneration, transformation and commercialisation Geraint Thomas said: “This development will create an innovative and collaborative workspace to attract new and existing businesses into the town centre.”
“The YMCA was originally conceived as a centre of social advancement and personal improvement and has become a symbol of Merthyr Tydfil striving for regeneration.
“Its loss would have created a void in the town centre’s distinctive heritage and signalled a continuation of decline. It will now be conserved to the highest standard, preserving the striking exterior.”
The four-storey, terracotta-faced building in Pontmorlais was created by leading Welsh architect Sir Percy Thomas in 1911.
A council officers’ report said the building makes a major contribution towards a significant historic public space and contributes towards the character and appearance of the Victorian residential area to the north of the site, which the report said is currently blighted by the condition of the YMCA.
Lee Waters, Welsh Government deputy minister for climate change, said: “I’m delighted we have been able to support this exciting project that will see the transformation of an iconic listed building.
“Re-purposing the YMCA building will support the wider regeneration of Merthyr Tydfil and I hope it becomes yet another example to show what can happen when we act now to revitalise our town centres to ensure they are fit for the future.”
Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, said: “Investing in heritage means investing in the community it belongs to, which is why we are proud to support this regeneration project.
“It will not only preserve this important building but will also regenerate the local economy and be enjoyed by locals and visitors.”
John Weaver contractors has won the contract for the redevelopment work and managing director Terry Edwards said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be given the opportunity to make a real difference to this wonderful landmark in the town centre of Merthyr Tydfil.”
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