My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Muni Arts Centre project moves to next consultation stage

RCT Council and Awen Cultural Trust will begin the next stages of consultation for the planned £4.5m investment in Pontypridd’s Muni Arts Centre – including engaging the public and stakeholders virtually starting in December.

In late 2019, Awen Cultural Trust became the Council’s preferred tenant and operator of the Muni, announcing an ambitious long-term plan to refurbish the building with architects Purcell. The aim is to secure the Muni’s heritage and celebrate its stunning gothic architecture – while establishing the much-loved building as a unique regional arts and music venue with a sustainable future.

How a redeveloped Muni Arts Centre could look. Credit: PURCELL/AWEN

An important public consultation progress is taking place this autumn to seek the views of the local community, to inform the plans going forward.

In October, an initial stage of consultation got underway, with residents asked to share their stories, photos and memories of the Muni from years gone by. This activity is ongoing, and residents are still welcome to contribute via email to [email protected] or via Freepost.

The next consultation stages include engagement with the community. A key stakeholder event will take place on December 2, while the wider public consultation will run from December 7, 2020, to January 11, 2021.

Both upcoming stages of the consultation will be held virtually, due to the current restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure social distancing. The feedback received will be reviewed, and ultimately used to inform a preferred option for the Muni investment – in relation to work to the building and the programme of activities it will host.

The stakeholder element will include a virtual workshop (on Wednesday, December 2) comprising targeted participants from key user groups. However, anyone who would like to be involved can express an interest by emailing [email protected].

The wider five-week public consultation will be hosted on the Council’s website. It will include a pre-recorded presentation, and allow residents to leave their comments via a survey.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services, said: “At the end of October the Council, in partnership with Awen Cultural Trust, opened an initial stage of consultation over the exciting £4.5m investment to bring the much-loved Muni Arts Centre back into use. This was in the form of a call for memories, stories and images from years gone by – and, while this exercise is still ongoing, I’d like to thank those who have got in touch with us so far.

“In early December the consultation will progress to include engagement exercises with stakeholders and the public. This will take place virtually, like many other current consultations across the Council, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents will be able to access information about the plans and take part in a survey to provide important feedback that will inform the next stage of the scheme – establishing a preferred option for the Muni’s future.

“I’m very pleased the ambitious plans to renovate the Listed Muni building, while also re-establishing it as an arts and music hub, are continuing to gather pace. The Council and Awen are fully-aware of the Muni’s importance to Pontypridd and the wider region, and I’d urge as many people as possible to take part in the upcoming engagement activities to have their say in its future.”