Posted: Wed 5th Jul 2023

Further plans lodged for iconic Automobile Palace in Llandrindod Wells redevelopment /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 5th, 2023

More plans to refurbish the iconic Automobile Palace listed building in Llandrindod Wells have been lodged with Powys County Council. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The council, which bought the building in 2021, has submitted a listed a building consent planning application with itself for the internal refurbishment and alterations to the ground and first floor “lettable” units and communal areas. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

This application covers units one to six, the foyer are and cycle museum on the ground floor and unit 9B and communal area on the first floor.
The aim of the £3.3 million refurbishment and alteration works to the building is to provide fit for purpose, business-focussed facilities for Llandrindod Wells and the wider community. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Previous planning application to renovate the building were approved last year.
The building closed as a garage in the early 1990’s before being converted to business units and recent occupiers of the building have included the National Cycle Museum,  Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency, and the Department of Work and Pensions (Job Centre). ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A heritage impact assessment (HIA) lodged with the plans explained the proposals.
The HIA said: “With the exception of the DWP area, the Cycle Museum and the work carried out by the council over the last couple of years, no investment had been made to the building in recent years and some internal elements are still badly in need of maintenance and refurbishment.
“As most of the lettable units have been unoccupied for a considerable amount of time, refurbishment and upgrading works are required throughout
the building to bring them up to a suitable standard for attracting new tenants.
“In order to attract new tenants to occupy the building, the units and the associated services and facilities in the building need refurbishment, upgrading or alteration to ensure that they provide suitable amenities for the anticipated occupiers and users of the building, to conform to current
regulations and to reduce the energy use of the fittings.”
The council says that from an “expression of interest exercise” at the end of 2021 a “wide” variety of prospective tenants came forward.
The HIA said: “The exercise showed that prospective tenants are
looking for premises in the area for workshops, retail, leisure activities, offices, food outlets, recreation activities and non-residential institutions.
“Many of these prospective tenants’ activities would encourage the public to visit the building rather than just be used by the workers.”
The assessment explains that this could be a boon for the museum with potentially more visitors created by the increase footfall to the building.
Powys planners are supposed to decide the application by August 2.
The Automobile Palace is Grade Two star listed building and is an example of an exceptionally early two-storey grid-pattern steel-framed building stands out as a fine example of 20th century architecture in the town.
The name of its creator, Tom Norton, is still emblazoned on its frontage.
He opened a bike shop in the Old Market Hall on the High Street in 1899, near to the railway station.
At the turn of the 20th century, he turned his attention to motorcycles and cars.
In 1911, Norton built as it was known then The Palace of Sport at a cost of around £11,000. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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