A historic building in Penarth dating back to the 1880s could be the subject of a restoration project.
Restoration plans for the Penarth Yacht Club on the Esplanade have been submitted to the Vale of Glamorgan Council. The proposal includes plans to remove false ceilings and ventilation ducts installed in the 1970s and 1980s and restore historic ceilings, beams and windows.
The planning request also includes plans to install insulation in the ceilings and replace ceiling lighting. A Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) attached to the planning application indicates that restoration is necessary due to the damaged condition of the false ceilings and the deterioration of the original ceilings and beams.
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Three options were considered before an application was submitted, including leaving the building as it was, replacing the false ceilings with new ceilings, and removing the false ceilings and restoring the original features. The HIA states that the third option was favored by members because the original features can be “exhibited and enjoyed for generations to come”.
The claimant, Dr Daniel Griffith, said false ceilings had “well and truly reached the end of their life now” and it was time for a change.
Dr Griffith, who has been a member of the yacht club for around 20 years, said: “On our main deck you can see [the] beginning of the beams under the false ceilings, so I have always been very intrigued by what is above and [whether it] could ever be restored and opened.
“The greatest fear [amongst] our members is that if we open the ceilings, it will take a lot more energy to heat [the building] and costs more, but with a decent plan to insulate it, it should cost us less and be more durable [in] the long term.”
False ceilings and steel ventilation ducts being removed are on the main deck, aft deck and billiard room. The HIA agreed that the proposal would “cause damage to the building’s original fabric” if approved, with the loss of limited areas of original lath and plaster.
However, the HIA says the areas proposed for removal are already damaged and, where possible, plans allow large areas of lath and plaster to be retained. It is also hoped that the exposure of the original ceilings, beams and windows will allow them to be sympathetically restored.
This is the first time these features would be made accessible in 40 years.
Dr Griffith added: “I guess most of the members will never have seen what’s above those drop ceilings. I think it’s going to be really exciting.”
According to the HIA, the original clubhouse was built in three stages, with the first part – the north wing, which is now the two rowing houses – being built “sometime before 1884”.
The second floor was built soon after and the third, which was the south wing, was completed in 1896.
Dr Griffith said if the proposals are approved, a combination of fundraising, sponsored events and grants would be needed to help fund the project. Want the latest news from the Vale of Glamorgan straight to your inbox? Register for free here.