Plas Machynlleth: The People´s Proposal
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The future of one of Wales´ most significant buildings looks brighter with the launch of an inspiring community proposal for its future development.
Cllr Michael Williams (left) being given his copy of the Plas Steering Group's proposals by Phil Wheeler and Siwan Hywel
Read the proposal [All these links are to Word documents under 70kB]
Plas Machynlleth, the former home of the "Celtica" visitor attraction, has been empty, with very limited use, since the closure of Celtica in March.
After detailed research into the wishes of local residents the "Plas Steering Committee" (PSC) has created a proposal that will now be taken forward to Powys County Council for consideration.
PSC Spokesperson Andy Rowland told us: "The proposal draws together all the things highlighted in our survey as being important to the people of the Dyfi Valley.
"There is no doubt that the future of this building is at the very centre of life in Machynlleth; in keeping with the spirit of its original gift to the people by the 7th Lord Londonderry .
Our proposal will secure its future financially as well as returning the building to the heart of the community".
The PSC vision for Plas Machynlleth´s future includes an exciting mix of arts space, business accommodation, education facilities, heritage resources and drop-in attractions for visitors to the area.
On the ground floor, a redesigned interior will offer an inviting venue for conferences, local group meetings and performance-based arts.
Further space has been designed to attract school visits, while an 80-seat cinema will showcase both Welsh and English language films.
There will also be a tea room with a ball-park style play area, a facility specifically for parents and young children: the tea room will regularly become a restaurant in the evenings, with a rolling programme of live entertainment.
The group aims to reinstate the building´s historic Orangery, as part of an overall programme of restoration.
On floors 1 and 2, the "WorkPlas Centre" will offer low cost and inspiring office space to local small businesses - the lack of which has been highlighted as a barrier to the economic development of the town.
"In the future, Plas Machynlleth will fulfil two distinct roles if our proposals are accepted.
"It will be an inspiring and important resource for the local community AND will attract visitors to a variety of attractions, from the restaurant and cinema, to the heritage displays, conference facilities and the education programmes", Andy told us.
The Steering Committee was appointed by public meeting in January and reports to the Machynlleth & District Local Community Forum.
Its members were chosen to reflect the various ideas suggested at the two public meetings and include local business people, architects, councillors, designers and educators.
It has drawn on the advice of accountants and business consultants during the development of the proposal.
The group is chaired by Meinir Wyn Jones.
"We hope to receive the green light from Powys County Council to turn the dreams of the people of the Dyfi Valley into a reality" she told us.
The committee is busy organising an event for the Sunday afternoon and early evening of 25th June at the Plas.
It will combine entertainment from the likes of Gwilym Morris and "Black Russian" with opportunities to discuss the proposals and to get a feel for the possibilities.
Members want to report back to the community and to seek support.
"This will be a chance to explore the proposals more fully and to celebrate the space and its potential for the future", said organiser Jenny Hall.
"It is so sad to see this beautiful building closed and the potential for deterioration and vandalism is obvious. I am fully behind the community proposal". - Camilla Norberg - local resident.
"The Plas was a gift to the people, and this proposal outlines the wishes of the people for its future use. The council should take this very seriously. If the figures add up there can be no moral justification for an alternative and non community based use." - Geoff Hill - local businessman
"The drafted proposal demonstrates how everyone from all age groups and from whatever background could benefit from the Plas and be able to enjoy the beauty of the building and its surroundings. It could be a fantastic vibrant community focal point, full of inspiration for the local young people, entertainment for all and opportunities for creativity and entrepreneurial endeavour for the people in the Dyfi valley." - Yonnie and Jonathan Pickles - local residents.
Andy Rowland, Chair of Machynlleth & District Local Community Forum 01654 703965.