PLANS to refurbish the iconic Automobile Palace listed building in Llandrindod Wells have been lodged with Powys planners as part of a project worth £3.3 million.

Powys County Council bought the building last year and has now submitted a listed building consent application to change the building’s interior.

The Palace closed as a garage in the early 1990s , becoming business units, with recent occupiers including the National Cycle Museum, Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency, and the Job Centre.

Agents Heart of Wales Property Services explained the proposal in a Heritage Impact Assessment.

It reads: “The Automobile Palace has been granted funding for refurbishment and alteration works with the aim of providing fit for purpose, business-focussed facilities to aid and support the regeneration of Llandrindod Wells and the wider community.

“In order to attract new tenants to occupy the building, the units and the associated services and facilities in the building need upgrading or alteration to ensure that they provide suitable amenities for the anticipated occupiers and users of the building.”

While the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a shift away from offices to other models of working the report says that the council is “keen” to provide flexible units that would appeal to the “widest range” of businesses.

In an answer to a Freedom of Information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the Welsh Government said that the project total cost is expected to be £3.3 million, and the council will receive £1.585 million towards it from the Transforming Towns funding programme.

Automobile Palace is Grade II*-listed building and is an example of an exceptionally early two-storey grid-pattern steel-framed building stands out as a fine example of 20th century architecture in the town.

The name of its creator, Tom Norton, is still emblazoned on its frontage.

He opened a bike shop in the Old Market Hall on the High Street in 1899, not far from the railway station.

At the turn of the 20th century, he turned his attention to motorcycles and cars.

In 1911, Norton built as it was known then The Palace of Sport at a cost of around £11,000.

The building was designed by architect Wellington Thomas and it had a capacity for 80 cars over 11,056 sq ft.

It has been enlarged to three times its previous size in the same style.

The application could be decided by councillors on the Powys Planning committee.

But this depends on whether the application is judged to be a “major” one which should be decided by councillors.