St Mary's Church
The Feasibility Study into possible future uses for the Church is well under way. This was commissioned by Cyfeillion Cadw Tremadog to be carried out by the Pwllheli architects Dobson: Owen. It began with the delivery of a questionnaire to every house in Tremadog, and the results were discussed at a public meeting.
The responses showed that Tremadog is seen as a friendly, attractive and convenient place to live. Several people had chosen to live there because of the atmosphere. Some specifically mentioned the architecture.
The main concerns of those who responded were the lack of youth facilities in the village; and the volume and speed of the traffic. After these, the lack of a place for older villagers to meet, the state of the Tannery site, and the dilapidation of the Church and Churchyard were cited.
Suggestions included a youth club; a cafe where older people could meet; badminton courts; and an exhibition telling the story of
Tremadog and William Alexander Madocks.
At the meeting, the suggestions were discussed.
Youth Club: The Memorial Hall provides a venue, and has snooker facilities, but these are vandalised often. The main need is for a
The Memorial Hall is not ideal for the very young, the elderly or for people with disabilities, as the main meeting room is upstairs, and there is not enough room to upgrade the toilet facilities. The Memorial Hall trustees are seeking to address these
The Ysgol Feithrin is still intending to move to Ysgol y Godan site.
Cyfeillion Cadw Tremadog emphasised that it would not want to compete with the Memorial Hall or undermine its viability. Sports facilities will be available in the new Leisure Centre in Porthmadog.
No one at the meeting knew the extent of social & youth club provision envisaged at the rebuilt Tabernacl in Porthmadog. The Canolfan in Porthmadog will have improved facilities on completion of the upgrading.
Some people suggested the grounds around the church could be used for parking, others felt this wholly unacceptable.
Museum/Cafe: The proposed scheme for the Tannery includes a Madocks Museum. Of course, if the Church makes a better venue
this should be considered; but would an exhibition on Tremadog and Madocks be commercially viable on its own, without the other income-generating activities on site that are proposed at the Tannery? The architects were asked to look at this.
The discussion emphasised the need for a strategic study for the Porthmadog-Tremadog area, to assess the projects that are underway in order to pinpoint the gaps in the provision.
The planning authority, Cadw, the Church in Wales, and other bodies have been consulted. Their role is usually to respond to a proposed use, not to suggest a use, so no new ideas were forthcoming.
The next stage of the study will be to inspect and cost the repair of the structure.
Since the Public Meeting, Eric Jones of Bwlch Moch Climbing Centre, Tremadog and the Christain Mountain Centre, Tremadog have both expressed an interest in the Tannery and Saint Mary's Church.
Possible role for Cyfeillion Cadw Tremadog
The advent of the Lottery makes it possible for charities, but not businesses, to receive capital for projects that will be of benefit to the
community. As a Buildings Preservation Trust, the Trust is able to receive lottery money to buy, repair and let or sell historic buildings. Any profit is used to launch the next project.
If a suitable use for the Tannery or Saint Mary's can be identified, and a future purchaser or leaseholder would contract to take the building at a market price, the trust could repair and convert for that specific user.
Tannery Timetable Trouble
A major problem with the Welsh-officeadministered European grants is the timetable. Over the summer it became evident that we
would not be able to confirm the matchfunding, nor the progress on ownership (which will require negotiations with Gwynedd
County now that Dwyfor is no more), that they required by 21st November. Even had we done so, we would probably not have been
able to comply with the requirements to start next April nor with completing the work within three years.
The ideal timetable for a many-phased project as complex as the Madocks Manufactory site, would be five years; this would enable the trust to negotiate the acquisition of the site and to commission detailed development designs, knowing that the financial backing
was secure; then to obtain tenders and let the contracts in three phases. A voluntary group cannot move ahead and commission the
preparatory work required until after securing funding. The accountant-led timetable set in part by the EC and in pad by the Welsh Office is an unnecessary and unhelpful hurdle.
New Trustees - Suggestions. Please!
The trust was set up in a hurry in 1991, initially to protect the Tannery from demolition.
Some time ago, we discovered that the documents filed with the Charities Commission were general-purpose, and not as we intended, specific to a Buildings Preservation Trust. (The trust has been run following the stricter requirements) For consistency, it was decided to revise the trust's registration with both the Charity Commission and Companies House using a new set of documents, the Standard Governing Document for a local Buildings Preservation Trust of The Architectural Heritage Fund. The object of the trust remains unchanged. A draft of the revised Memorandum and Articles has been approved by the Charity Commission.
Discussion of the Trust's documents and the Trust's inability to work to the European timetable has provoked a reassessment of the trust's structure. The present trustees have decided that there should be a small Governing Body (the trustees) including people
with specific skills such as business, construction, finance and law. Some of the present Trustees have offered to stand down when trustees with needed skills have been found.
The Trust is eager to appoint such individuals, particularly If they are resident in the area or have some association with Tremadog. If any readers can offer these skills themselves, or suggest others, please contact Dewi Williams, (Chairman) or Frances Voelcker (Secretary).