Brecknock Museum is undergoing a £13m transformation. Image: © Copyright Philip Pankhurst and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

Row over college plans for Brecknock Museum redevelopment

Geraldine Kendall Adams, 25.07.2019
Council defends proposal to create a college campus on site
Plans to create a college campus on the site of Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery in Brecon, Wales, have led to a row between councillors.

The site is in the process of being transformed into a £13m cultural and historic centre, but a proposed partnership announced last week between the centre and Neath Port Talbot College (NPTC) Group was criticised by Labour councillors, one of whom said the plan risked handing the attraction over “to a private business”.

A spokesman for Cyngor Sir Powys (Powys County Council), which runs the site, said: “The private business they refer to is the college, which is an educational institute.”

He added that no final decision had been taken on the partnership.

The redevelopment project will see the Brecknock Shire Hall and Assize Court Buildings, which previously housed Brecknock Museum, become a multi-functional community space featuring a library, art gallery, café and museum, which will be renamed y Gaer.

Work on the National Lottery Heritage Fund-supported project began in 2016 but has been delayed several times due to issues with construction – on one occasion because stone for the project could not be accessed during the puffin breeding season.  

There is no agreed opening date for the facility but construction work is due for completion in September.

The council’s corporate director, economy and environment, Nigel Brinn said: “We are working on plans to make the fantastic new y Gaer facility even better when the doors open in a few months’ time. We ask residents to be patient for a little longer, we are confident that y Gaer will be worth the wait.

“We are exploring exciting partnership opportunities with Brecon Beacons College, part of NPTC Group of Colleges, to expand the range of potential opportunities for the community delivered from the building. Our aim is to provide an exciting base for history, art, culture and learning for the town and surrounding communities.

“By working with the college we have an opportunity to create an exciting and vibrant centre, combining learning, history, art, culture, a library and community services - a truly unique facility for Powys.”

The proposed partnership will be considered by the council’s cabinet in September.

Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery features collections spanning local prehistory to the dark ages, Brecknockshire town and country life, natural history, art and historical objects.

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