Art Deco building set for new lease of life
People are being asked for their views on plans to give a new lease of life to the former Plaza Cinema in Port Talbot town centre.
Neath Port Talbot Council wants to convert the Grade 11 listed building into a multi-purpose community hub.
It could include a recreational hall, rentable office and meeting space for new and existing local businesses and community groups, a gymnasium, a café, the retention of two retail units at the front, car parking and a cycle store.
The final designs also include 50m2 of solar PV energy panels and an electric vehicle charging point.
The plans involve the partial demolition of the rear section of the building, leaving in place its distinctive art-deco façade. Film stars Richard Burton and Sir Anthony Hopkins were among the early customers at the old Plaza, which opened its doors in 1940 and closed them for the last time in 1999.
Once completed, the new Plaza will be run by YMCA Port Talbot which has been active in the town for more than 120 years.
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council aims to get full planning permission for the development subject to the pre-application consultation now being carried out by Asbri.
Andy Brown, Chief Executive of YMCA Port Talbot, said: "The new Plaza will enable the YMCA to expand and develop in the town, providing new services and opportunities to local residents, businesses and other community groups.
"When it opens, we will be able to offer state-of-the-art, modern facilities creating a step change in the sort of things that we can deliver, whilst at the same time honouring the proud history and heritage that the building already has."
Neath Port Talbot Council leader Rob Jones added: "These proposals aim to make the Plaza building a popular part of Port Talbot once again and they tie in with the recent revival of this part of the town centre.
"It's pleasing to see the long-awaited plans for the Plaza now starting to take shape, bringing a local landmark that has sadly fallen into disrepair back into community use. We look forward to working with YMCA Port Talbot to ensure the new facilities make as much of a contribution to life in the town as the building did in its previous incarnation."
Meyrick Sheen, the father of Hollywood star Michael Sheen, has been involved in discussions to re-develop the Plaza for a number of years and will be involved in the project as a member of the YMCA Port Talbot Board of Trustees.
He said: "I am very, very happy that the re-development of this iconic building is now progressing well to the planning stage and I will be pleased to be involved in the development of the Plaza as a new community hub for Port Talbot right in the centre of town. As someone who has worked for many years to ensure this building has a future it is fantastic to see the plans are now starting to come to fruition."
Anyone who wishes to make representations about this proposed development must do so by July 1 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.