Pontypridd lido's lottery funding
Plans to restore a Grade II-listed lido which closed in 1991 are a step closer thanks to lottery funding.
The lido in Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd, which accommodated up to 1,000 people in its heyday, needs around £3.6m to be fully restored.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is providing £75,000 of "development funding".
Rhondda Cynon Taf council now has two years to submit more detailed plans and apply for a further £2.1m of lottery support.
Built in 1927, the lido featured a swimming pool, semi-circular diving area, bath gallery and changing rooms.
While the park remains a popular attraction with an estimated 800,000 visitors a year, the lido fell into decline in the 1980s and eventually closed in 1991.
Plans to restore the open air swimming pool come as the market town undergoes a revamp to attract more visitors.
A £10.5m investment in the town centre is under way and a new shopping complex to replace the Taff Vale precinct is due to open by June 2012.
Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf council's cabinet member for culture and recreation, welcomed the £75,000 development award.
"I thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for this development funding and their recognition of the historical importance of the lido," he said.
"This funding will allow the council to further explore the feasibility of the scheme and the regeneration opportunities this important site could present."Architectural significance
Ynysangharad Park is believed to be the only listed listed lido to have survived in Wales and one of only 14 with architectural significance left in the whole of the UK.
The project to restore the lido and the surrounding park also proposes to create 10 work placements and provide training opportunities for up to 25 volunteers in conservation and maintenance skills.
Dan Clayton Jones, chair of the Heritage Lottery Funding Committee for Wales, said lidos were "unique and a rare heritage asset".
He added: "This project will aim to restore one of Wales' finest.
"Not only will this project reopen the lido complex to the local community and visitors alike to enjoy, it will also provide opportunities for people to learn about the rich local heritage.
"We have awarded a development grant in recognition of the project's potential and the benefits it could bring to Pontypridd and surrounding area."