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Clydach Ironworks land transfer

THE ENTIRETY the “at risk” Clydach Ironworks site is to come under the ownership of Monmouthshire County Council, which it is hoped will aid investment plans. 

The ironworks, which is in the Clydach Gorge in the Brecon Beacons National Park, dates back to 1795 and closed in 1861, and is also close to the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape World Heritage Site. 
It is listed as a scheduled ancient monument and has been in public ownership since the 1980s, but Welsh heritage body Cadw has identified it as being at “high” risk and a “high” level of vulnerability. 

There have been plans, involving Monmouthshire County Council, Blaenau Gwent Borough Council and the national park, since 2009 to enhance the area, including the addition of a visitor centre – but these have been hampered by the long-running and delayed A465 Heads of the Valleys roadworks. 
Monmouthshire County Council has now agreed to pay nominal sums to Llanelly Community Council for land which it owned around, and through the monument. 
A safety fence has been installed at the higher side of the monument, running alongside part of the existing Clydach village hall and playing field boundary on land owned by the community council, to enclose it and reduce the risk of any collapse. 
Both councils have now agreed that for ease of future management the new fence line should form the ownership boundary. 

A private landowner who owns land to the south west of the ironworks, including a narrow strip of riverbank and part of the scheduled monument, has indicated they would transfer ownership at no cost to the council. 
The council has said this offer, which includes a footpath, will make the monument easier to access, and would be useful should further works to stabilise the site require access from the riverbank. 
Recent structural surveys of the riverside structures have established they are generally in fair condition, except for one part of the retaining wall. 
A report for the council said, while consolidating its ownership of the site will protect planned and current investment, it will still need to find partners to fulfill wider redevelopment ambitions. 
It stated: “It is clear that the scale of intervention required to fully restore the monument, to address its long term management implications, and to realise the full benefits of the site as a visitor attraction are potentially beyond the council’s ability to deliver and would require this to be based on new partnership or management approaches. The proposed land transfers protect the ability to consider future options.” 
Cadw and the Welsh Government have supported work at the site in recent years.