Three well-known buildings in Rhondda Cynon Taf are set to be brought back to life as funding has been granted to give them a makeover.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has confirmed the former Mountain Ash Town Hall, Llwynypia Magistrates Court and the current RHA (Rhondda Housing Association) will be transformed into community and business hotspots.
All three projects have been made possible due to investment from Welsh Government and their Transforming Towns and Valleys Taskforce initiatives, working in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and its developers. The funding provides support for developing and improving underused or derelict properties, and bringing them back into use for various purposes.
Mountain Ash Town Hall, a Grade II listed building, was built in 1904 at a cost of £5,000. It initially served as the offices of Mountain Ash Urban District Council, and has continued to be used as a property of the respective local authority, but it's now set to be transformed into a hub.
The building is listed with Cadw due to its architecture and design, but it's now set to be redeveloped via a long-term lease into a co-working hub. It's planned the site will provide flexible workspace for new start-ups and businesses. This has been made possible due to £250,000 funding from the Valleys Taskforce, and further funding from the council’s own Major Project Investment Fund.
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Funding has also been secured for the council to go ahead with the Courthouse Redevelopment Project at the former Llwynypia Magistrates Court. The building will be transformed into a multi-purpose structure. Ideally it will be used as a business incubation and co-working space. The project is set to go ahead thanks to £250,000 funding from the Valleys Taskforce, and a further £50,000 from the council’s own Major Project Investment Fund. It will also see the opening of a café and fully-equipped gym for those who use the building.
Working with the council, RHA is also developing a pilot co-working space ‘Desg’ at its offices in Tonypandy after securing £49,400 funding from the Valleys Taskforce. The space is set to be located on the ground floor, with RHA staff occupying the upper floors. The co-working development will include 12 high-quality desk spaces, super-fast broadband, private meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, disabled access and a reception service.
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Councillor Andrew Morgan, leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, said: “Despite the challenges and pressures of the global pandemic, which we are all still tackling, it is good news to see the redevelopment of these three prominent buildings within our county borough as the council continues its ambitious programme of investment.
“All three redevelopment projects will provide office space for prospective local businesses and also existing local businesses, with funding provided by Welsh Government’s Valleys Taskforce and the council.
“The global pandemic has seen a marked shift in working patterns, with many working from home and many others working as close to home as possible. The redevelopment of the three premises, in central locations, will offer businesses the opportunity to adapt to these new ways of working.”