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New plans for Grade II listed building

23 May 2024 3 minute read
Thespian House in Merthyr Tydfil. Picture from Google Maps

Anthony Lewis Local Democracy Reporter

A town’s iconic building is set to be restored to its 1920s neoclassical origins, with the addition of a gym, yoga studio and coffee shop.

The application for the Grade II listed Merthyr Tydfil’s Thespian House, situated next to the Theatre Royal on Penydarren Road proposes bringing the building into modern day use as well as restoring it to its former glory.

A heritage statement submitted with the application said it would involve the restoration of the historic façade and parapet detail, internal refurbishment and lightweight rear cloister extension.


It said that the building’s restoration would be sensitive and respect the historic fabric with the view to restoring the neo classical façade.

It said that the proposal will “enhance the rich history and heritage of the conservation area.”

The statement also said that the proposed coffee shop, gym and yoga studios will bring new use to the area, allowing the historic building to be embraced and enjoyed.

The statement said that the design is centred around the restoration of the 1920s neo-classical architectural features to the road facing façade which will include the addition of the parapet that was removed during the 1960s.

It said that Thespian House has been rendered “featureless and unused” and that this proposal seeks to reintroduce character and warmth to the interior spaces that will drastically improve this listed building.

The statement said: “We would argue that the listing of Thespian House is largely by its association to Theatre Royal. It is also worth noting that much of its character and both neoclassical and art deco features have been
eradicated over time.”

The statement also said that although listed largely by association to the adjacent Theatre Royal, the key architectural elements of Thespian House mentioned within the listing refer to its original form.

It added that some local internal repairs will be required.


In terms of parking, the statement said there would be a maximum of 10 yoga studio users at a time which would require five spaces, the proposed coffee shop area which would require a further two spaces, and staff at Thespian House would not exceed three at any one time meaning only one parking space would be needed  – so the total number of spaces needed would be eight.

The statement also said that the public car park approximately 120m to the south of site would comfortably accommodate the provision for short-term parking for the proposal at Thespian House.

In conclusion, the statement said: “In summary, this proposal seeks to enhance the condition and function of Thespian House with a soft restoration that is centred around original neoclassic and features based on photographical evidence.

“The restored façade will significantly enhance the front and side elevations as per the historic photographs. Restoring the sash windows, rebated jambe details and crenelated parapet are architectural features that are key to the grade II listing.

“These details are also central to the character and will enhance the historical character within the conservation area.

“This refurbishment and repurposing of Thespian House, Merthyr Tydfil is about giving this historic building a new life through a conservation process that has its historic significance and architectural character at its heart.

“A process driven by high levels of design, consideration, research, and construction to deliver an end product that appropriately respects the history as well as the future use and longevity of this listed building. ”

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