Llanelly House, star of the BBC's 2003 Restoration series and winner of the Welsh section. Courtesy HLF
A building that became a TV hit is to be in the spotlight once more as plans to open it as a Community Heritage Centre finally come closer to realisation forming the centrepiece project in the regeneration plans of a Welsh town.
Llanelli’s Llanelly House, a Grade 1 Georgian town house, inspired the nation to support it during the 2003 BBC TV series Restoration, resulting in it winning the Welsh stage of the selection process. Now plans to restore the building alongside long-standing ideas for regenerating the surrounding town centre have taken a step toward becoming reality with the announcement of a grant pledge of £3.6 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Commenting on the announcement Council Leader Councillor Carl Lucas said: “I know we're not quite there yet but this very welcome announcement means we are well and truly on our way to seeing this historic building properly restored and brought back to full use.”
The interior inspected by, left to right, Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the HLF Committee for Wales, Sir Roger Jones, Chair of the CHRT, Cllr Carl Lucas, Llanelli Town Council Leader. Courtesy HLF
The money is now guaranteed through a Stage One pass, meaning that funding will be set aside while more detail is written into the plans for this outstanding but much neglected and deteriorating building.
Dan Clayton-Jones, Chair of the HLF Committee for Wales, said, “The public showed enormous support for Llanelly House during the BBC Restoration series. We are delighted that lottery funding will now breathe new life into this nationally significant landmark.”
As well as restoring the fabric of the building, the funding will also allow the provision of interpretation facilities for visitors and the community alike as well as an exhibition space and a café restaurant.
“A key aim of the HLF investment is to open up our heritage and improve the ways the public can learn about and get involved in it," added Dan. "This project will give opportunities for local residents and visitors from around the world to enjoy this wonderful example of an early 18th century Welsh town house.”
Left to right: Sir Roger Jones, Carl Lucas and Dan Clayton Jones take in what needs to be done to bring Llanelly House back from the brink and into a bright future. Courtesy HLF
The area around the house has already been the focus for regeneration plans by Llanelli Town Council. These are to include the expansion of the town’s designated conservation area and pedestrianisation of the surrounding streets to allow better access and appreciation of the heritage the town has to offer.
Councillor Lucas, added: “We’re absolutely over the moon. This has been a long time coming but the wait has really been worth it as it vindicates the faith the council has had in this project from the very beginning.”
Another benefit to the town will be the creation of ten new jobs in Llanelli. Some of the posts will include community and education development officers who will specifically serve the local community through developing education links with local schools and events such as historic re-enactments.