Plans to transform the iconic Pontypridd YMCA building into a state-of-the-art culture and community hub have been revealed after £4.25m was raised towards the £6m development. The new design will get rid of the beautiful old entrance and replace it with a carbuncle of modernity, but I guess that’s the price of progress.
Whether it’ll be fun to stay there we don’t know yet but the Arts Council of Wales will contribute £2.25m to the project, alongside a £2m Welsh Government pledge through its Vibrant and Viable Places Programme operated through Rhondda Cynon Taf council.
The fairly boring design, has been created by the architect of the Wales Millennium Centre.
The plans include a gym and fitness suite, youth club room, recording studio, reception area, five meeting spaces, two dance studios, digital media suite and office spaces.
A new café will also open on the Taff Street side of the development to compete with existing business owners, along with three shop units to go with all the other empty shop units in town. Although how this shiny, new development will fit in with the stinking dirty food outlets at the other end of the street is unclear as yet.
Kath Davies, director of investment and funding services on behalf of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “We are pleased to have been able to support this ambitious project through our Capital Programme.
“Ponty YM will significantly contribute to the sustainability and long-term resilience of the area and support the capacity to deliver great art and culture to the local community and beyond.
This is an interesting statement coming so soon after the closure of the Muni Arts Centre and Gallery.
Minister for communities and tackling poverty Lesley Griffiths added: “These exciting plans for Pontypridd YMCA are set to transform this iconic building and regenerate the local area.
“I am very pleased the Welsh Government has been able to support this project with £2m of funding. The centre will act as a creative, social and educational hub at the very heart of the community.”
Yet another interesting statement coming so soon after 100’s of council redundancies in the education sector.
The building opened in September 1910, when working-class townspeople united to bring the YMCA to life.
Councillor Robert Bevan, RCT council’s cabinet member for economic development and planning, said: “The council’s success in securing funding through Vibrant and Viable Places ensures a range of projects will be delivered which will benefit Pontypridd and surrounding communities.
“The council now looks forward to working with partners on this project to develop the provision of arts and cultural arts activities in the area.”
Maybe the council could support the international Welsh Poetry Competition which hails from the town? We have asked but never got a reply.
Just like those pavements I guess?
Call us sceptical but when funding is being cut and jobs lost to so many areas already offering great services to the community we wonder who will benefit from this alternative stream of government money?
Some cynical residents of the town have told us that ‘friends’ of certain people are rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the coming cash, but we couldn’t possibly comment.