South West Wales

Hope to revive Llanelli Railway Goods Shed as arts hub

Inside the Railway Goods Shed in Llanelli
Image caption Inside the Railway Goods Shed in Llanelli

A derelict railway building in Llanelli is being saved from ruin by a group of volunteers hoping to transform it into an arts centre and community hub.

Built in 1875, the Railway Goods Shed played a key part in the Carmarthenshire town's industrial heritage.

Now a team of rail enthusiasts have been granted planning permission to transform it.

Project manager Robert Lloyd said its potential was "amazing".

The Grade II-listed building was the scene of tragedy in 1911 when six men were killed during the railway strike and riots which followed.

Image copyright John Edwards
Image caption Two men were shot dead by the Army during the railway strike in August 1911, four others were killed in the riots that followed
Image copyright John Edwards
Image caption The Grade II-listed building is now the home for pigeons and needs extensive repairs

Now six years after a team of volunteers founded the Llanelli Railway Goods Shed Trust, in a bid to bring it back into use, the building will be transformed into a hub for arts, coffee, and skills for the community.

The project was inspired by the Tramshed in Cardiff - the old trams depot in the capital which is now a centre for the arts and creative industries.

Mr Lloyd told BBC Wales' Newyddion 9 programme the project was the largest independent undertaking of its kind in south Wales, but the scheme still needed more funding to reach its goal.

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Media caption'Amazing potential' for old Llanelli rail shed

It already has funding from the Rail Trust but hopes to raise £2.2m in grants from bodies including the Heritage Lottery Fund.

"The potential here is amazing actually, because it is a huge cavernous building, it's almost like a cathedral when you walk inside it," he said.

Llanelli MP Nia Griffith said the building would have offices and give local people the opportunity to learn new skills.

"It's a very historic building, what we want to do is not just reflect and celebrate Llanelli's amazing industrial heritage but also it's a place which is vibrant for the future where we are actually fostering new businesses," she said.

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