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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 05:55 GMT 06:55 UK
Town house loses Restoration bid
Llanelly House

Wales' oldest town house has failed to win the BBC's Restoration television programme.

Llanelly House in Llanelli, west Wales, was voted into the finals of the six-week series by viewers and stood to win millions of pounds to bring it back to its former glory.

But on Sunday, viewers voted to give the 3.4first prize to Manchester's Victoria Baths.

The decision has come as a major blow to people from the town, who had been rallying support for their building to be chosen in the unique BBC2 series.

Deputy mayor of Llanelli Nigel Bevan was among a coachload of 50 supporters who travelled to London for the final.

"We've been looking at restoring it for the past two years. It would need 3m to bring it back to its former glory."

The final is taking part at the Tower of London and Mr Bevan's party of supporters travelling there include town councillors, members of the local historic society and others working on the restoration of the house.

Llanelly House
Llanelly House gained much local support
In the ninth programme of the 10-part series which featured three Welsh buildings, presenter Griff Rhys-Jones called on viewers to choose between Llanelly House and two other buildings in Wales - Vaynol Old Hall in Gwynedd and Amlwch Port and Parys Mountain in Anglesey.

Llanelly House was at the cutting edge of architectural design when it was built in 1714 and an impressive status symbol of power and wealth for the tiny fishing town.

Commissioned by the town's leading family - the Stepneys - the house has been sadly neglected and is now in a dilapidated condition with its glories boarded up.

A nationwide vote decided which building should be given a new lease of life with money raised throughout the course of the series.

Jennifer Stewart, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for Wales had been hopeful it would do well.

"The restoration of Llanelly House, one of the finest early Georgian townhouses, will be an exciting project not only to restore the building but to find it a long-term use which has meaning for the area," she said.

Phone votes during the show's five-week run have generated cash to enable restoration. A further 3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund will also help to secure the winner's future.

'Conservation concerns'

Griff Rhys-Jones said: "Restoration has been a huge success. It's put conservation concerns on the agenda and I hope entertained a lot of people on the way."

Carole Souter, director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, added: "The way these 10 fantastic buildings have caught the public's imagination demonstrates just how passionate people really are about their heritage.

Baths win 3.4m Restoration final
14 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
Llanelly House wins TV vote
09 Sep 03  |  Wales
Town landmark's history traced
01 Sep 03  |  South West Wales
Comedian hosts house vote
22 Mar 03  |  Wales


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