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Website URL : http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=54496

Strategy in pipeline for 'at risk' listed buildings

SWANSEA Council is preparing a strategy to tackle the issue of 'at risk' listed buildings across the city.

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The strategy will include investigating all possible sources of funding that could help in future. Consideration will also be given to the use of all 'at risk' listed buildings to ensure that, once repaired, they don't deteriorate again.

Listed buildings are designated by Cadw (The Welsh Government's historic environment service) because of their special historic or architectural interest. Figures show there are more than 500 listed buildings across Swansea and that 8.5% of them are designated at risk. This compares with a Welsh average in 2008 of 9.6%, according to Cadw.

A significant group of at risk buildings owned by Swansea Council are concentrated on the former Hafod Copperworks site that's now being regenerated in partnership with Swansea University. These include the Hafod lime kiln, the Musgrave engine house and the Vivian engine house.

Cllr Nick Bradley, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: "We've just signed a 15-year agreement with Swansea University that will see us working with their experts on an exciting regeneration project that will bring the Hafod Copperworks site and its buildings back into use. This is important because it's vital we celebrate our rich heritage.

"The majority of Swansea's listed buildings are in use and in good condition, but we also need to focus on those that are designated at risk. This is why, for example, we're working more closely than ever alongside the Penllergare Trust to restore and celebrate Penllergare Woods, and repair works on the listed observatory building there are in the pipeline.

"Listed buildings connect us to our past and provide character and a sense of place. Our officers are working on a strategy that will inform what we can do to help safeguard and celebrate our at risk listed buildings, but many others are not in our ownership. so we'll also continue to work with private owners in future to see what can be done."

Other listed buildings owned by Swansea Council and considered 'at risk' include The Belvedere on Saunders Way in Sketty, Blackpill's Roman Bridge and Singleton Park's Veranda House. Veranda House is currently being made safe and a feasibility study is being carried out into the use and possible repair of the Roman Bridge.

There are also 20 privately-owned listed buildings across Swansea that are considered to be at risk. They include the Palace Theatre on High Street and Capel Salem in Bonymaen where discussions with the owners are ongoing and feasibility studies are looking into their reuse. Others include the lime kiln in Oystermouth, where listed building consent has been granted for rebuilding, and Danbert House on Morfydd Street in Morriston, where Swansea Council has cleared overgrowing vegetation. A feasibility study is also looking into the future of the fire-ravaged Libanus Chapel in Cwmbwrla.

When complete, the strategy for at risk listed buildings will go to Swansea Council's Cabinet for approval.

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