Consultation launched on proposed Garw Valley Heritage Centre

Bold designs for a new heritage centre proposed to be built in Pontycymer in the heart of the Garw Valley were unveiled today. The project is a joint initiative between the Bridgend Valleys Railway and the Garw Heritage Society. Colin Williams, Chairman of the Garw Valley Railway said ‘We think that our partnership with the Garw Heritage Society to establish a place where the heritage and history of the Garw Valley can be celebrated will provide a real boost to our longer-term ambition, which is to get the heritage railway up and running from Bryngarw Country Park to Pontycymer. We are currently seeking funding for our proposals, which aren’t set in stone, so we have today launched a community consultation to find out what people think.

Huw Irranca-Davies AM, who has supported the efforts of the volunteers of both organisations for some time, commented ‘I think that the establishment of a Heritage Centre for the Garw Valley is a great idea and I like the imaginative designs. The project is an important one for this area. It has the capacity to attract visitors and to provide opportunities for local people and organisations to get involved in a community and environmental regeneration initiative with wide-ranging benefits. I would urge residents to take this opportunity to have their say.’

From left to right: Ian Black (Treasurer) and Jean Fowlds (Secretary) of the Garw Valley Heritage Society, Christopher Adams – Garw Valley Railway, Huw Irranca-Davies AM and Pontycymer Ward Councillor Rod Shaw.

The consultation will run for two weeks from Friday 4th – Friday 18th May and those that want to take part will be able to fill out a questionnaire survey online or at outlets up and down the Garw Valley, as well as being able to attend a series of drop-in sessions where the proposals will be exhibited and there will be someone on hand to explain what the project is all about.

Community consultant, Gareth Kiddie, has been commissioned to help organise the consultation, Gareth commented ‘It’s really important for the success of the project that local people, organisations and businesses have the opportunity to contribute their own thoughts and ideas. I will be on hand to answer questions at the drop-in sessions and the results will be fed back to the project partners in the form of a consultation report with recommendations on the way forward for the project. As an added incentive every completed questionnaire will be entered into a prize draw to win a hamper, kindly donated by The Co-op Food-store at Pontycymer. If anyone needs any further information they can contact me via email gareth@gka.org.uk or by telephoning me on 07984 127811.’

The consultation questionnaire will be available for completion online via the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Garwheritage and the drop-in sessions will be held on:

Monday 7th May at Bryngarw Country Park, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm

The Green Meadow Inn, Llangeinor, 4.30 – 6.30 pm

Wednesday 9th May at Bleangarw Workmen’s Hall 10.00 – 12 noon

Betws Community Club 12.30 – 2.30 pm

Pontycymer Life Centre 3.00 – 5.00 pm.

The consultation exercise together with the production of a Development Plan for the project is being funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales – Thriving Rural Communities Scheme as administered in the Bridgend area by Reach.

For more information about the programme go to: https://www.bridgendreach.org.uk

Front elevation sketch design produced by Dennis Hellyar Architects, Barry.

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