Development funding obtained to progress £1.7m restoration of Cardigan’s iconic Market Hall

Development funding has been secured for the first stage in the restoration of Cardigan’s 150 year old Market Hall which will enable detailed planning consent to be sought for the £1.7m project

At a meeting at Cardigan Guildhall, the Cardigan Building Preservation Trust announced that it had been successful in securing development funding for the project to conserve, restore and repair Cardigan Market Hall, as well as improving access to the building.

The Market Hall has been clad in scaffolding for more than a year while Ceredigion County Council carried out essential roof repairs.

The announcement of the investment was welcomed by trader Cilla Lewis, at Caffi Carn Alw, who said: “This is great news and cannot come soon enough. It’s such a great building and is so important to Cardigan.”

The first phase development grants totalling £109,000 have been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Welsh Government Rural Communities-Rural Development Programme 2014-2020.

The Rural Development Programme, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Welsh Government, has also awarded a further £127,000 to the second phase.

Howard Williams, chair of the Trust, said: “This is really exciting news for Cardigan with the potential to benefit the whole community.”

This funded development phase will allow the Trust, working with the building’s owners Ceredigion County Council, to develop and plan a detailed scheme over the next few months to secure the remaining funding.

The Trust has a vision for the site that includes developing and improving public access, trader and public facilities and opportunities for engagement, education and training.

Matthew McKeague, chief executive of the Architectural Heritage Fund said: “This project has great potential to bring a new lease of life to the Market Hall and to further demonstrate the benefits of asset transfer by a local authority to a community organisation.

“These can be seen at the adjoining Guildhall, which the AHF also backed as a long-term supporter of Cardigan BPT. We look forward to seeing this project achieve similar success.”

Lesley Griffiths AM, cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs, said: “I am delighted to be supporting the restoration of Cardigan’s Market Hall. The market has been trading for more than 150 years and I hope it continues to benefit the town for many years to come.”

The story of the market’s heritage will also be told through heritage interpretation that highlights the unique architecture and history of the site.

The Market Hall was built in 1860 in the style of ‘Ruskinian’ Gothic revivalism that followed the precepts laid down in John Ruskin’s book ‘The Stones of Venice’ published in 1854.

The building’s conservation listing is Grade ll* (a Grade II building of particular importance), as one of the first civic buildings in the UK to follow Ruskin’s precepts.

The Guildhall and Market Hall complex was commissioned in 1856 as a unique civic centre in miniature, far more than the usual hall over a market, and the first in Britain designed in the then-modern Gothic style.

The two storey Market Hall, built on a steeply sloping site, is very unusual in Victorian architecture.

The building has been in continuous operation as a market since its opening in 1860 and both the Market Hall and Guildhall are valued as important parts of the town’s historical, social and economic landscape.

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