£2.3m derelict old stables revamp project hits delays

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 11th June 2022 12:57 pm
@AlexandraBanfi
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A £2.3million project to convert a derelict Machynlleth building into “much needed accommodation for tourists” may have to be abandoned, if legal issues cannot be resolved.

The Old Stables, in Machynlleth, have been empty since 2007. The town council, who own the building, are hoping to transform the Old Stables, also known as the Kennels, into “much needed” accommodation for visitors to the town.

But the project has been met with delays. Project managers Charlie Falzon and Shelagh Hourahane were at a Machynlleth Town Council meeting on 30 May, to tell councillors more about the issues they face.

Charlie said it was decided, after a consultation in 2019, to turn the unused stables into much needed accommodation.

But he added they had come up against some delays, in particular a clause in the contract that was drawn up after Powys County Council transferred ownership of the stables.

There are some issues we are having with the legalities. One of the things we have to do is get a valuation of the building for the purpose of the grants.

“One of the issues is to do with the transfer of the property to the town council in 2008. Basically when Powys County Council transferred the Stables to the town council in 2008, they put in two very crafty clauses. Our understanding, from speaking to solicitors, it’s a fairly standard thing.

“The first clause is that they would want 90 percent of planning permission before capital works start on the property. We have the property for £140,000, but if planning permission is granted it would be at least £500,000. They would want 90 percent of that.

“I don’t know if you have that money in your coffers, but no funders will go for that.”

Charlie said they were waiting to hear back from the county council on the clause and whether it could be dropped. But, if it can’t, he said the project may have to be abandoned.

So far, Charlie said the project has “got a fair wind behind it”, with support from various heritage bodies included, and they have recently set up a community interest company to take on management and ownership of the building “in due course”.

“We’ve also got to review everything because the costs have gone up. In the feasibility, the original cost was about £1.6million. Now it’s in order of £2.3m or £2.4m. One of the tasks in the next phase is to raise that money for you.”

Charlie said they are planning to raise the money next year, as well as carrying out new surveys to apply for planning permissions and listed building consent.

“We’re going for about three major applications, one certainly from the Heritage Lottery, one from Awards for All. The problem is the two can’t be match funded against each other.

“We’ll try for a third one as well to try and make up the funds. By September say, we will certainly be putting an expression of interest to the Heritage Lottery as the first stage of getting funds from them.

“Timing is critical, if we’re going for multiple funders. If the first one comes up and says yes, then it will be condition on the other funders. So it’s lining up the ducks.”

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