Page last updated at 06:59 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Nine historic buildings get 385k

Newport transporter bridge
Newport's Transporter Bridge celebrated its centenary in 2006

Nine historic buildings have been handed nearly 400,000 in grants to help fund vital repairs.

Heritage minister Alun Ffred Jones announced awards ranging from 7,500 to 100,000.

The grade II-listed former British Steel offices at Ebbw Vale were awarded the largest grant of 100,000.

But Friends of the Newport Transporter Bridge, which faces a 2m repair bill, said they were disappointed with the 75,000 the project has been awarded.

From the total of 385,247, 75,000 has also been offered to develop land around Foley House, a grade II-listed building in the centre of Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

I don't think the people of Wales, including the heritage minister, realise what we've got
Anne Gatehouse, Friends of the Newport Transporter Bridge

The Heritage Minister said: "The grant offers are for a wide range of historic buildings across Wales, including many important aspects of our industrial heritage, and will ensure that some of our most important buildings are maintained for the enjoyment of future generations."

Newport's Transporter Bridge, which celebrated its centenary in 2006, has been shut since December 2008.

In August, councillor David Atwell, the Newport council cabinet member for transport, highways and engineering, estimated that the final bill for the restoration of the bridge would top 2m.

The council has said it hopes the bridge will reopen in time for the 2010 Ryder Cup hosted near the city.

Former British Steel Offices, Ebbw Vale - 100,000
Transporter Bridge, Newport - 75,000
Land at Foley House, Haverfordwest - 75,000
The Record Office, Hawarden - 42,500
Iron Bridge, Newport - 30,000
Treberfydd Tudor House, Llangasty, Nr Brecon - 29,081
Bethesda Welsh Congregational Chapel, Llangennech, Llanelli - 14,916
Guild House, Tenby - 11,250
South Sea Wall, Pembroke - 7,500

The Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge, a registered charity dedicated to preserving the structure, said it was disappointed with the 75,000 offered.

Chairman Anne Gatehouse said: "It's not very much, is it? For such an icon as the Transporter Bridge, the only one of its type in Wales.

"I think that the Welsh Assembly Government should be more concerned about it being brought back up to scratch and opened for the thousands of visitors who want to come and see it.

"There are only eight [such bridges] left in the world and for Wales to have one of them is quite something.

"I don't think the people of Wales, including the heritage minister, realise what we've got."

Mr Jones also announced the appointment of two new members to the Historic Buildings Advisory Council for Wales, which advises the Assembly Government on these grants.

Julian Orbach, an architectural historian who lives in Newport, Pembrokeshire and Michael Garner, a conservation architect from Llandrindod Wells, Powys, have already joined the advisory group.

Alun Ffred Jones Jones said: "We have a rich and varied built heritage in Wales and it is important that the assembly government has advice of the highest quality in assessing our historic buildings and in recommending what steps might be taken to ensure their conservation and restoration.

"Julian Orbach and Michael Garner both have extensive and valuable experience and I am sure their expertise will make a vital contribution to the work of the Historic Buildings Advisory Council."

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