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The Tin house works


The Works is the title given to the media village and wider cultural hub proposed for the Castle Works brownfield area in Llanelli. We’ve been commissioned to assess the site and create a proposition for the public sector buildings that will extend across the northern half of the site.

The Brief

The Old Castle Iron and Tinplate Company Limited was formed in 1866. The works were erected on a site called Pen Castell which the company derived its name. In 1947, the works were acquired by The Steel Company of Wales Ltd until they fell into disrepair.

Only one building was retained when the site was cleared in 2006. The Tinning House is a Grade II listed structure on a brownfield site of approximately 7.5 acres. It already has planning consent for commercial, leisure, food and drink uses, including a cinema, bowling alley, and a theatre for the arts.

The Works has the function to be a regional creative and cultural campus for communities across the area. With two main facilities based around a theatre complex, the space could accommodate an auditoria for workshops, studios and community groups while acting as a base for Coleg Sir Gar creative studies courses. A mid scale theatre would fill a regional gap in theatre size provisions and fit into the Welsh Theatre Circuit.

The Tinning Shed at the heart of the old Castle Works could be restored as a theatre restaurant and craft gallery, interpretation and skills appreciation areas.

With its location in Llanelli, a facility would be within easy reach of 600,000 people living within a 45 minute drive of the site.

The initial planning we’ve performed shows the huge potential for the site to create real cultural change for Llanelli.

The Tinning House, as the only remaining building from the Old Castle Works, needs to be comfortably incorporated into the scheme both physically and visually. As we refurbish the site, the likely uses for building are as support spaces to the new complex, including: a cafeteria, a gallery, a heritage area and community offices.

Treatment of this structure would be contemporary, but understanding of the site’s heritage. Once the proposals have been finalised, a full historic buildings and impact assessment will be provided to supplement any design and access statements.

The design concept currently being developed is for a grouping of buildings between the Tinning House and a footpath, running along the principal road, set below and around a unifying roof structure. This will provide a covered external area that could be used for organised or impromptu events.

While the project is being developed, we’re also looking at further opportunities for the site. As the railway line to the west cuts off the new developments being built on the waterfront, it would be possible to build a new bridge over the line and even create a new station to serve this site and the waterfront.

Despite being outside the scope of this project, it shouldn’t be ignored and indeed the opportunities for increased pedestrian flow through the site would be tremendous.

Lawray has been a partner of the Corporation of the Church House for over 20 years and in that time has been heavily involved in several large refurbishment projects. The team’s knowledge and skills have proved invaluable in the areas of design, planning and project administration. When redeveloping a listed property, Lawray have ensured that they treat the architecture with sympathy whilst producing space that is effective for modern day requirements. Lawray continues to work closely with our in-house team on forthcoming projects and we would have no hesitation in recommending their work to others.

Mr Ian Bessant, Facilities Manager

The Corporation of Church House (Aug 2013)