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Neath Port Talbot Politics South Wales

Neath Port Talbot Council reveals new long-term heritage strategy

Margam Castle Views part two (Pic: Neath Port Talbot Council)

A WELSH council has revealed long-term plans to protect and promote the area’s history, heritage and natural environment over the next 15 years.

Neath Port Talbot Council adopted its new heritage strategy, called Restore, Regenerate, and Repurpose this year. It will now cover the period up until 2039.

The strategy was approved by members with the hope it would “ensure the conservation, protection and sustainability” of the area’s historic and natural environment for its future generations.

The Neath Port Talbot area is well known across Wales for having a wealth of historical sites and beauty spots, such as Neath Abbey, Margam Country Park, the Neath and Tennant Canals, and the popular tourist attractions in waterfall county.

The plans were approved following consultation with stakeholders as well as members of the community, as it was felt local heritage could play an important role in raising the area’s profile along with the levels of appeal in the county borough as a place to “live, work and visit”.

A council spokesperson said: “The council secured funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2020 to deliver the Heritage NPT project which included the development of a heritage strategy and support for community groups playing a crucial role championing and conserving our heritage and historic environment.

“Neath Port Talbot’s heritage assets play an important part in increasing the appeal of the area as a place to live, work, visit and invest in.

These assets include listed buildings, buildings of local importance, canals, conservation areas, historic landscapes, scheduled monuments, registered historic parks and gardens, battlefields and shipwrecks.”

A report within the strategy added: “Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council recognises the contribution that our heritage makes to the character of the county borough, its economic vitality and quality of life.

“Our heritage contributes to our local identity and sense of community, whilst our historic environment is part of the area’s visual and cultural appeal, acting as a stimulus and inspiration to high quality art and development.

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“Our heritage assets play an important part in increasing the appeal of the county borough as a place to live, work, visit and invest in.

Working creatively with key stakeholders, we can innovatively manage and protect our historic environment to enable us to build a positive future for everyone.”

The plans will also look to carry out a series of “realistic objectives” over the next 15 years, with an action plan within the papers set to be reviewed on a yearly basis.

Some of the potential works listed in the plans include commissioning an options appraisal for the long-term sustainability of the Neath and Tennant Canals, protecting listed buildings, and appointing a heritage officer for the area.

Other projects could involve the repairing of masonry work at Margam Castle, improving access to Brunel Docks, as well as the creation of a training programme for stewardship at heritage sites.

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