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Arts group's funding for pier pavilion restoration bid

20 November 09 12:28 GMT

An application to restore and refurbish a pavilion on a Victorian pier is being funded with a lottery grant.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £99,600 for a group to develop plans to revamp the Grade II listed pavilion on Penarth Pier.

The award has been made to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL), which now has two years to apply for further funding.

An overall £3.9m refurbishment will see the concrete pavilion restored for heritage and community activities.

The £99,600 grant means PACL can go to the next stage of the HLF application process in its bid to restore the pavilion, which stands on one of only seven pleasure piers left in Wales.

Perfect base

PACL will now submit more detailed plans in its bid to qualify for £1.6m of HLF support towards the overall cost.

The pavilion, which was built in 1929, has been described as a "perfect" new base for the community group.

The building, which has a curved roof, Eastern-style towers and a vaulted ceiling, has fallen into disrepair but PACL aims to restore it in a way that will retain the building's historical significance.

Sustainable design to protect and safeguard the building will also be included in the proposals.

The community has shown overwhelming interest in the scheme and PACL aims to run a programme giving the public a chance to find out more about the history of the building and the town of Penarth.

A wide range of educational activities on marine environment and sea transport will reflect contemporary environmental concerns.

Waste of space

PACL project director Maggie Knight said: "We were looking for a new space and someone suggested the pavilion.

"I think it's perfect for what we want. It's a shocking waste of space that's gone unused for all this time.

"They have beautiful views over the Bristol Channel and it's an important situation to send a real green message about tidal power and using old community spaces.

"We're hoping it will be a green project that attracts tourists from all over the UK.

"We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given this initial support for the project.

"This will have a major impact on the continued development of Penarth and will bring huge cultural, social, economic and tourism benefits for the town and south Wales as a whole."

Huge competition

Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for Wales chair Dan Clayton Jones said: "This project is fundamental to the regeneration of the town's seafront.

"There is huge competition for our grants so PACL now need to develop their plans fully in order to compete for a firm award."

PACL is already working with a number of local agencies to explore alternative transport under plans to create a sustainable seafront.

Volunteers will play a leading role in managing the pavilion and acting as tourist guides.

Volunteer maritime surveillance body Coastwatch will also be based there.

Penarth Pier, which was built in 1894, was refurbished with HLF funding in the late 1990s and is one of Penarth's main attractions.

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