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Work to start on Y Lanfa improvements this week

Y Lanfa

Work to expand Y Lanfa: Powysland Museum and Welshpool Library, will start this week after a contract was awarded by Powys County Council to SWG Group.

It will see additional floor space added under the canopy area, to create a new foyer and a flexible community and display space above it, a remodelling of the museum’s galleries and the installation of a new public toilet, lift, solar panels and air handling units. The work complements and extends the refurbishment work undertaken when the library moved into the building in 2020.

The wharf area will also be resurfaced to reduce the risk of flooding and to make it more accessible, and a new landscaped area for public use is to be added. The Grade II listed canal side cottages are to be refurbished for commercial use.

An artist’s impression of how Y Lanfa will look after the building work. Picture: Hughes Architects

Welshpool-based contractor SWG Group will be working on the cottages first, starting today (Tuesday 7 May) and will then move onto the Y Lanfa: Powysland Museum and Welshpool Library building and the external areas in September.

The museum will be closed throughout the work, but the library will stay open. During the second phase, in the autumn, the library will be operating a reduced service from the refurbished cottages. This will include book borrowing, public-access computers and a face-to-face access point for council services.

The improvements are costing around £1 million and are part of the £14 million Montgomery Canal Restoration project that the council was successful in securing UK Government Levelling Up funding for.

The council is working in partnership with Glandŵr Cymru (the Canal and River Trust in Wales) on the waterway restoration elements, with the intention of creating a better environment for both people and nature:

  • Dredging and bank works to a 4.4-mile section between Llanymynech and Arddleen.
  • The rebuilding of Walls and Williams Bridges near Llanymynech to allow boats to pass through them.
  • The creation of new water-based nature reserves alongside the canal.
  • Repairs and improvements to Aberbechan Aqueduct near Newtown.

“I’m really pleased that work is going to start soon on expanding the space available to the museum and library in Welshpool and on work to the canal side cottages that will allow them to be brought back into use,” said Cllr David Selby, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for a More Prosperous Powys. “The designs for the extension to Y Lanfa look stunning!

“The whole restoration project aims to boost the communities alongside the canal and the biodiversity found in the blue and green corridor that runs through them.”

The designs for Y Lanfa were created by Hughes Architects and the build is being managed by the council’s Property Design Services.

Richard Lewis, Architect and Director at Hughes Architects said: “From the outset, the vision for Y Lanfa has been about much more than simply renovating bricks and mortar. We see this scheme as an enabler, unlocking the immense potential of the canal side to become a catalyst for the regeneration of the entire town.”

Steve Gough, Director at SWG Group, added: “We are delighted to have secured the contract to work on Y Lanfa, which is just a stone’s throw from our own head office on the other side of the canal. We, too, hope that this work will aid the regeneration of our home town.”