Mid Wales

Newtown church to become children's play centre

A major £1m project to convert a disused grade II-listed church into a children's activity centre has been given the go-ahead.

A two-storey steel frame will be built inside St David's in Newtown as part of the plans for the child's play barn.

A separate application to move an historic rood screen, an ornamental partition, to nearby Llanllwchaiarn Church was approved a few weeks ago.

St David's closed after 159 years in 2006 amid fears it was unsafe.

It is not known when the play barn will open to the public because the church requires extensive renovation work, but there are plans to create eight full-time and eight part-time jobs.

Grandstand Leisure Limited, of Trefeglwys, near Newtown, applied for listed building consent for internal and external alterations, together with demolition of a timber frame former school room.

Company director Colin Powell said: "We are delighted that planning permission has now been granted for the new play barn. This will safeguard the future of this historic building which is the centre piece of Newtown.

"We look forward to working with Powys planners and the heritage officer in lifting conditions as work progresses. We now have to seek faculty permission from the Church in Wales for the planning permissions granted by Powys County Council.

"We look forward to creating and delivering a great family orientated venue for the parents and children of Newtown and the whole of Powys."

When the church closed in 2006, the Reverend Andy Grimwood, who was vicar at the time, said he believed £1m had been spent renovating St David's since the 1960s.

Annual church costs ran to £20,000, but about £130,000 was needed to pay for repairs for interior and exterior walls.

St David's was built in 1847 to replace a church which had flooded.

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