Plas Gunter Mansion in Abergavenny’s Cross Street is now one step closer to receiving restoration funding as the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) has invited the Welsh Georgian Trust which owns the building to submit an application for the development phase of the restoration.
The Trust submitted an Expression of Interest to the NHLF at the beginning of July in the hope the project would be approved to apply for further funding.
An Expression of Interest is required for large projects and is an outline application of the full project, giving historical context, potential future activities, work done so far, timescales, and costs. It has been important to include as much as possible at this stage as it could prove difficult to make changes further down the line. NHLF requires these outline applications because of the huge competition for available funds.
The next stage is for the Trust to submit an application for a development grant showing how they intend to manage the project. This will involve creating briefs for required expertise, sending out tenders to architects and other experts, technical planning up to a certain level, commissioning viability studies on the proposed commercial spaces, designing the exhibition space and understanding how to develop an audience, putting together a fundraising plan, and generally explaining in detail how the project will be delivered.
Andrew Beckett, Chair of The Welsh Georgian Trust, said: “This is very exciting. We are extremely grateful that NHLF continues to have faith in the project and has accepted our Expression of Interest. The Trustees and Chair of the Friends recently met to discuss the work which is now required to submit the development application and it’s all systems go for us to meet NHLF’s November deadline.”
He added: “We are having to attend to some urgent repairs as the building has been neglected and there are some pressing issues to deal with. Of course, any actual renovation work is still a long way off. Firstly, we have to satisfy NHLF that we have everything in place to deliver a project which is likely to cost over £3 million. But eager as we are to get on with the work, it has to be approached in a considered and responsible way and we must take one step at a time.”
Plas Gunter Mansion is a Grade II* listed, largely 17th Century, town house formerly belonging to the Gunter family. It contains an incredibly important Catholic chapel dating from the late 17th Century which was hidden for over two centuries and rediscovered in the early 20th Century.
As well as a particularly fine 17th Century plaster ceiling on the first floor, the second-floor chapel once housed a wall painting of the Adoration of the Magi which can now be seen in Abergavenny Museum.