QUESTIONS have been asked whether work has already started preparing the inside of Brecon’s Y Gaer, for NPTC (Neath Port Talbot College and Coleg Powys) College group to move in.

The concerns have been raised as the actual decision has not been made yet.

Brecon’s Y Gaer (Welsh for Fortress) cultural hub is the redevelopment of the Grade II* listed Shire Hall and construction of a new modern library.

The proposal of bringing NPTC in to Y Gaer as Powys County Council’s partners has been put forward this summer to help the “future financial stability.”

The project that has been delayed for months and was supposed to have opened last year and then on March 1 this year.

Costs have ballooned to £14.2 million, which is over £5 millon more than expected.

Labour group leader, Cllr Mathew Dorrance, Brecon St John, has written to council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris (Independent, Llangynidr), with his concerns.

Cllr Dorrance said: “Over the weekend, I and Cllr David Meredith (Labour, Brecon St David Within) have received reports that suggest the Children’s Library at Y Gaer has been dismantled to make way for NPT College Group.​

“This is of serious concern and is a direct contradiction of the assurances you have personally given me which you further echoed at the recent stakeholder meeting where you said all options are on the table.​

“I would be grateful if you would respond as a matter of urgency and explain.”

Cllr Dorrance has three questions that Cllr Harris needs to answer:

  • Has the Children’s Library been dismantled and if so, why?​
  • Why furniture is being moved in for the college if, as you’ve suggested, no decision has been made by your administration?​
  • The details of the options currently under consideration by the Cabinet.​

A spokesperson for Powys County Council (PCC) said: “Proposals were due to go to cabinet next week but they have been pulled.”

Discussion of the proposals by cabinet were also postponed at Cabinet’s meeting on July 30.

Back in August, a public meeting was held at the Castle of Brecon Hotel where the packed crowd was told by senior PCC officers that the opening of Y Gaer could take place before Christmas.

The crowd was also told by corporate director for the economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, that Brecon was receiving more from PCC than “any other town,” in Powys.

The Welsh Government and Heritage Lottery Fund have provided almost £4 million in grant funding for the project.

Fears have been raised that the proposals to bring the college in to Y Gaer could breach grant conditions.

The original plan was for a library, cafe, community facilities and function rooms.