PLANS for a new building that would serve the community of a small Powys village will go before the public this weekend.

Residents in Nantmel have been trying to convert the village’s old primary school into a community hub for the last seven years.

The Nantmel School Action Group and Nantmel Community Council has now turned its attention to a new building for the village. They will be hosting a viewing day on Saturday, January 27, so locals can see architect plans for a brand new building and provide comments.

Since Nantmel Church in Wales Primary School closed its doors in December 2016, the local community council and an action group that was set up to fight closure plans have combined forces to try and secure the building as a community asset.


They say the school, which had previously been open for 160 years, has been “totally neglected” over the last seven years, with no heating or maintenance of any kind having been conducted. Locals say they want to buy or lease the building for the benefit of the local community, but have been stonewalled by the owners – the Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Trust.

“It (the school) was to be used by the clubs, groups and organisations that had used it prior to the school closing, with the intention of attracting more organisations to meet there and activities to happen, to increase the building's economic viability,” said Kelvyn Curry, the chair of the Nantmel School Action Group and a Nantmel community councillor.

“Over the period of time since the school closed, the action group has tried every way they can think of to get the Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Trust to sell or lease the building to the community, but to no avail.”

In 2019, plans to turn the school into a home were initially deferred by Powys County Council; they were ultimately unsuccessful.

“The building has remained empty since the day the school closed and it has been totally neglected, with no heating or maintenance of any kind since that time,” added Mr Curry, a former Rhayader county councillor.

The partnership has now turned its attention to alternatives, and criticised the trust.

“Apart from the fact that after seven years we don't appear to be any further forward with our negotiations with the Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Trust, we also consider that to take over a building that has been totally neglected for this period of time would potentially be a very expensive undertaking,” added Mr Curry.

“We have no idea what damage has been done and what repairs will be required. Another major concern is the cost of heating the building.”

The ‘consultation viewing day’ will be held in Dolau Chapel this Saturday, between 10am and 4pm. Residents will be able to pore over plans and provide feedback, with members of the action group and community council on hand to try and answer any questions there may be.

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A spokesperson for the Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Trust said: "The Swansea and Brecon Diocesan Trust always seeks to work with and support local communities. 

"Under charity law, the trust has legal obligations both to maximise the income potential of any asset and to investigate potential reversion of ownership. A valid ownership claim has been made, but is taking time to fully investigate. 

"The trust is hopeful that matters will be resolved soon and wishes the community group every success with its initiative."