South West Wales

Port Talbot Plaza cinema redevelopment to start later this year

The Plaza cinema, Port Talbot Image copyright LDRS
Image caption The art deco building has been empty for 20 years

Work to redevelop a derelict cinema where Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Sir Anthony Hopkins once watched films is due to start later this year.

The Plaza in Port Talbot closed in 1999 and has lain empty ever since.

It is understood the YMCA will take over the art deco building which will become an arts and culture centre.

Neath Port Talbot council's head of regeneration, Simon Brennan said it would be something for Port Talbot to be proud of.

The cinema was listed Grade II in 1999 as a very rare example in Wales of 1930s cinema architecture, with an interior which was largely intact.

Image copyright Reuters/BBC
Image caption It was the local cinema for actors Sir Anthony Hopkins and Richard Burton, who grew up in the area

The council bought the empty building in 2009 with the aim of protecting it and developing it for future use, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Councillors were told the new centre could open in 2020 with £5.5m of Welsh Government backing.

Mr Brennan, said the project was "progressing very well".

"We are very hopeful that the end product will be something that will not only improve the area but also be something that Port Talbot is proud of, with the heritage relating to the cinema as well," he said.

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