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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 06:01 GMT 07:01 UK
£3.6m earmarked for listed house
Bedwellty House
£3.6m has been set aside for the restoration of Bedwellty House
The Grade II listed home of a former ironmaster could be restored to its former glory by lottery funds.

Bedwellty house and park in Tredegar has secured the first stage of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

They have earmarked almost £3.6m to finance development of the site to help make it the focus of the community.

A £253,000 development grant has also been awarded to help Blaenau Gwent Council progress the plans, which if approved, will secure the HLF funds.

Bedwellty House was home to Samuel Homfrey, whose Iron and Coal Works were the main local employers for much of the 19th century.

If the £3,599,000 funds are released by the HLF they will go on to finance proposals including the restoration of the house and its conversion into a multi-use facility.

It is an indication of positive support, and money for the scheme is set aside
Heritage Lottery Fund

This will include offices, workshops and educational space, as well as a café to encourage the local community to use the house for group meetings, social events and lectures.

The council plans to run exhibitions to help bring the industrial and social history of the site to life.

Plans also include the restoration and enhancement of the grade II parkland.

The scheme would create three full-time posts to oversee the restoration programme and plan community events.

Volunteer guides would be trained and sports clubs and schools encouraged to use the facilities.

"Key destination"

Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund's Committee for Wales, said the development of Bedwellty Park would encourage more visitors.

"The park is Tredegar's main heritage site and this proposed work would play a key role in the town's economic regeneration, transforming Bedwellty into a key destination for the local community as well as creating a tourist attraction for the area," he added.

Councillor Steve Thomas, from Blaenau Gwent council, said they would work with business partners to hone their plans and secure the funding.

An HLF spokeswoman said the council had been given a "Stage One Pass" for Bedwellty House.

She added: "Competition at this stage is tough, and while a Stage One Pass does not guarantee funding, it is an indication of positive support, and money for the scheme is set aside.

"The applicant can then progress to Stage Two and submit a further, fully developed application to secure the full grant."

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