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Thumbs up for plan to save The British industrial ruin – backed by European cash

02 Oct 2021 3 minute read
The British project team. L-R: Robert Davies, Kelly Collins-Thomas and Ryland Llewellyn at the event on Thursday

Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter

Plans for the first phase of a project to regenerate The British, a former ironworks site in Talywain, have been given the thumbs-up by local residents.

The overall masterplan includes plans to create a heritage trail and cafe on the 1,300-acre site – the largest remaining site of industrial dereliction in the south east of Wales.

It has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Around 30 people visited the site known as The British on Thursday to meet the project team, who talked them through the plans for the first phase.

And there was unanimous support among those who attended. Bob Rogers, from Talywain, said: “This area is very close to my heart and I walk on The British everyday with my dog. I think this is an excellent first start.”

Bethan Whelan, from Aberyschan, said: “I like the plans – I think it’s important the development is in keeping with the natural beauty of the area and it’s industrial heritage.”

Aberscychan councillor Lynda Clarkson, who sits on The British Liasion Committee and Friends of the British group, added: “It’s been a long time coming and I think people are relieved work is starting.

“I’ve been contacted by a lot of people who couldn’t come today but who wanted more information, so there is a lot of interest in the project.”

Ruins of the former British Ironworks offices and foundry, Abersychan. Picture by Jaggery (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The work, which is due to start in a few weeks, will focus on improving the safety on part of the site by treating former mine workings, and reducing the risk of flooding by creating a new watercourse and pond.

This phase is essential to improve the safety of the site and is the first piece in The British masterpiece jigsaw, which was approved by Torfaen councillors in November 2018 and aims to regenerate the area.

Cllr Joanne Gauden, Torfaen council’s executive member for economy, skills and regeneration, said: “It was great that people came to meet the team and find out more about this first crucial phase, especially given the weather.

“People asked questions about where the work will be taking place and where the new pond is likely to be sited.

“I was very pleased to see so many younger residents coming along and taking an interest.”

This first phase is due to be completed in March 2023.

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Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 years ago

How does a dangerous old ironworks in the UK qualify for money from an European Agricultural Fund? Perhaps they made ploughs or farm gates? Even so I don’t see how it can be ‘backed by European cash’. The local council only approved it in 2018 so is the EU really so benevolent towards us 2 years after Brexit?

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 years ago

Even though Wales voted to leave the EU, against better judgement , our EU funding still continued up to the point when the transition period ended. And obviously with the pandemic has meant past decisions made have been delayed until now to be implemented. I don’t think similar will occur in the future when our structural funding is administered directly from Whitehall by our power grabbing Tory dictators if they have any say on the matter. The area is dangerous largely due to previous botched demolition attempt and vandalism, but mainly due to past cash-strapped local authority inaction & central… Read more »

Last edited 2 years ago by Y Cymro
Huw Davies
Huw Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Diolch am yr ateb. I still don’t understand how an industrial ruin qualifies for money from a Fund for Agricultural and Rural development but I suppose definitions are so flexible, these days, that they can mean almost anything people choose!

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