Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Housing, Regeneration and Heritage questions

The minister for housing, regeneration and heritage emphasised the importance of religious buildings on 21 November 2012.

Huw Lewis AM said that there were 3,153 listings in Wales relating to places of worship, and that the "vast majority are churches and chapels".

214 religious buildings are listed as grade I, 525 listed as grade II* and 2,414 listed grade II.

Swansea East AM Mike Hedges asked the minister to set up a task force to choose which buildings needed to be protected as a priority.

"As many of us, I believe these chapels are more important to Wales than the castles of Norman invaders," said Mr Hedges.

"We've got so many listed buildings if we try and save all of them all we're not going to be able to."

Mr Lewis disagreed.

"I don't share your view that we can only save a few," he said.

"There's a twin track possible here.

"It is important that we look closely at the issue of religious buildings in view of the decline in the number of listed buildings in active use."

His hope is to convert some of the chapel buildings which are "commonplace" throughout Wales into homes, and include them in the empty homes program.

Clwyd West AM Darren Millar raised concerns about unlisted buildings listed which are of historical importance.

He referred specifically to Pisgah Chapel in Loughor, Swansea where the revivalist Evan Roberts started preaching.

Mr Millar described the building as "a very important national building which doesn't have a listed or protected status."

Mr Lewis said that the government's heritage bill is considering the inclusion of a local list "for buildings which have local importance".

Mr Lewis also faced questions on various topics including housing supply, European funding and the legacy of the Olympic games.

It was also announced that Mark Isherwood had won the ballot for a private members bill.

Read this in Welsh.

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