Neath Port Talbot Council cabinet members are being asked to endorse proposals to establish a new working group to help draw up future plans for the historic Cefn Coed Colliery Museum site in Crynant, Neath.
Extensive survey work at the museum site has uncovered serious structural issues including flaking stonework, unsafe tunnels, asbestos and corrosion and it has been estimated that the emergency Health and Safety works will be in excess of £1.25m whilst an investment of around £8m would be needed to take it forward as a visitor attraction.
The problems pose serious dangers to users of the site meaning the museum will therefore not be able to re-open this summer.
Discussions on the future of the Grade II listed Cefn Coed Colliery facility have been ongoing for a number of years. It is owned by the Welsh Government but part of the land and buildings comprising the museum are leased to the council.
In August 2019, Neath Port Talbot Council successfully secured a Welsh Government grant offer with exciting plans to transform the museum into one of a number of Valleys Regional Park gateway centres with proposals for a café, craft shop and an innovative, interpretive experience telling the history of the colliery and surrounding area.
But due diligence checks identified that the initial proposals could not progress and, partly due to the delaying effects of Covid-19 restrictions, there was insufficient time to bring forward alternative proposals in the timescales of the grant.
And now the results of detailed surveys at the museum and surrounding areas have been received, it is clear the grant offer would have fallen far short of the total financial investment needed at the site.
A meeting of Neath Port Talbot’s Cabinet on June 2nd proposes setting up a Cefn Coed Working Group to provide input into future proposals for the site. It will be chaired by the council’s Director of Education, Leisure and Lifelong Learning, Andrew Thomas, and will comprise council representatives and representatives of external partner stakeholder organisations to provide a clear way forward for the site.