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    12 April, 2006

    Restoration team visit Powerhouse

    The Powerhouse building in Llwynypia, which played a central role in the Tonypandy Riots in 1910, could feature in the next series of Restoration following a visit to the area by an assistant producer from the show last week.

    A member of the production team met David Lewis from the Rhondda Civic Society to receive more material on the Powerhouse and the emerging plans for it. She also had telephone conversations with RCT officials and other members of the Trust being put together to develop a business plan for the building.

    I first approached Restoration presenter Griff Rhys Jones in December, after he wrote to the Western Mail about the new series of the BBC2 programme, asking for suggestions for buildings that should be included.

    I pointed out in my letter that 'the building fits with the criteria that you list, so long as you accept that Valleys' mining villages fit your programme definition. Please don't rule them out simply because they are close by towns - they are some of the neediest areas when it comes to public support, and yet the heritage organisations like the National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund usually ignore them.'

    A Building Preservation Trust (BPT) is being set up to prepare a plan for the building, and a feasibility study has been commissioned with support from the Welsh Development Agency. The BPT will contain representatives of the local community, through the Llwynypia Communities First group, the Rhondda Civic Society, and the Rhondda Housing Association, as well as a variety of interested local people including myself and our MP Chris Bryant.

    I was pleased to have been able to help get full backing from the Welsh Development Agency for the feasibility study on the building. We want a building that is sustainable and which can be used by the local community.

    The Restoration programme would obviously be a great platform to raise interest in the building.
    This is the second time that staff from the programme have been in touch with us about the Powerhouse. They are now in the process of short-listing the entries for the show. There is no guarantee yet that the Powerhouse will be included but we are keeping our fingers crossed.

    Members of the Trust have also now received a presentation from our consultants, Hyder, on possible uses for the building.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

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