Posted: Sat 19th Aug 2023

Plans Approved for £3.3m Refurbishment of Iconic Automobile Palace in Llandrindod Wells /

PLANS to refurbish the iconic Automobile Palace listed building in Llandrindod Wells have been given the green light by Powys County Council.
Earlier this summer the council, which bought the building in 2021,  submitted a listed 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 area 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 council’s built heritage officer Dr Sam Johnson was consulted on the proposal.
Dr Johnson said: “The proposals are quite limited in their changes to historic fabric, and are mostly in relation to adapting modern internal elements of the building, such as ceilings, modern partition walls.
“The historic fabric and character of the building will only by impacted by a two of the proposals, a proposed new external door and two proposed new external vents.
“Much of the proposed works internally would not require listed building consent, such as the replacement of modern ceiling tiles or the patching of modern plaster.”
He added that if confirmation is given that a door earmarked to be replaced is “modern” he would recommend approval subject to a couple of conditions.
These conditions are that drawings of the new door are submitted and approved by planners first
And that details of pipework, meter boxes, alarms, flues, vents or ductwork for the building would also need to be submitted and approved by the council before the refurbishment starts.
Planning officer Natalie Hinds said: “The overall historic fabric, character and design of the building will be maintained and largely unaffected by the proposed development.
“It is therefore considered that the proposed works comply with relevant planning policies and the recommendation is one of conditional consent.”
The building closed as a garage in the early 1990s before being converted to business units.
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).
The Automobile Palace is Grade-II 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. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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