£50m regeneration of Merthyr Tydfil aims to put town on international map

A new report has revealed ambitious plans to create an industrial heritage tourism centre in Merthyr Tydfil.

The proposed project, which would cost at least £50m, is planned to be a celebration of the industrial history of south Wales and in particular its place as the world’s largest producer of iron in the 19th century.

The report from Design Commission for Wales believes the town’s place as a ‘crucible of the industrial revolution’ could be used to attract tourists from around the world.

The report’s authors believe Merthyr can replicate the successes of Titanic Belfast and the Eden project in Cornwall. Their plan would bring together other local heritage landmarks, including furnaces and the viaduct spanning the River Taff.  A centre-piece would be regenerating Cyfarthfa Castle, built for the Crawshay family, who were ironmasters in the 19th Century.

The Welsh Government’s cabinet secretary for local government and public services, Alun Davies AM, said: ‘This report demonstrates what is possible given a bold and imaginative approach to our history and our heritage assets.

‘The reports sets out a powerful case for a visitor attraction that could be transformative in its effect on the image and economy of the town and a powerful addition to Wales’s tourist industry. I look forward to working with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council to see what can be done to realise these ambitions.”

Geraint Talfan Davies, project advisor to Design Commission for Wales, said: ‘Merthyr Tydfil has resources of powerful loyalty to the place and pride in its history. The presiding impulse from all participants in this exercise was to raise the town’s projection to the world today to a position truly commensurate with its international importance in our industrial, social and political history.

‘We hope that these proposals will help Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, the Welsh Government and the whole community to bridge that gap and to achieve the transformation for which Merthyr Tydfil has waited for too long.

‘The involvement of the Design Commission for Wales has been an important signal. The watchword must be quality. The clear message that came from the ideas day was this, ‘Whatever you do, try to make it the best in the world.'”

Amanda Spence from Design Commission for Wales said: ‘As an architect, this is a real opportunity to make a real difference to Merthyr Tydfil and put it on the international map.’


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