Multi-million Pound Plans to Restore Penarth Pier Pavilion
The final stage of an ambitious multi-million pound scheme to restore one of South Wales’ last remaining Victorian piers has begun. A planning application by Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL) to transform Penarth Pier Pavilion into a landmark fit for the 21st Century has been submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The £3.9m project is almost certain to be approved, most likely in October, as the council has been working with PACL on a “community led solution” to redeveloping the building and successfully helped the group secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant earlier this year.
The project involves the restoration of the Grade II-listed pavilion as a major tourist attraction and multipurpose community complex, including a cinema, cafe and observatory. The restored building will host a range of activities, such as school sessions, and will have a dedicated exhibition area focusing on the area’s maritime heritage. The first-floor balcony will be redesigned to create an auditorium for lectures, conferences, a 95-seat cinema and a cafe which will overlook the seafront.
Volunteer organisations including Coastwatch, wildlife sanctuaries and the RSPB will be based at the centre. A new observation post will give visitors the chance to watch birds and other wildlife, with live images linked from cameras located in the Bristol Channel. The restored pavilion will also play a leading role in plans to link Penarth and Cardiff Bay as a single tourist destination.
The driving force behind the scheme was Australian-born Maggie Knight, who led the Make it Happen campaign to redevelop the pavilion. Before she returned to her homeland earlier this year she predicted the restored pavilion could become to Penarth what the Sydney Opera House is to Australia’s largest city.
Her successor as chairman of PACL, Penarth businessman Paul Twamley, said “It’s such a huge project for Penarth because it will help revitalise the entire promenade, which certainly needs some attention. I think it will bring significant economic benefits to Penarth. Maggie Knight worked tremendously hard to secure the required funding and we are now continuing that work.”