Automobile Palace Historic Building Renovation Project Approved

The east side of Llandrindod Motor Palace

In February, Powys County Council (PCC), which bought the building last year, applied for listed building permission with planners to alter its interior.

The aim of the £3.3 million renovation and alteration works to the building is to provide a fit-for-purpose, business-focused facility for Llandrindod Wells and the wider community.

The building closed as a garage in the early 1990s before being converted into commercial units. Recent occupants of the building include the National Cycle Museum, the Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency and the Job Centre.

Planning officer Luke Jones said: “The Palace of the Automobile is an important building in several respects; its method and date of construction, use and position in Llandrindod Wells.

“The PCC Built Heritage Officer has raised no objections to the development and considers that the proposed works would cause no damage to the listed building.

“In light of this, it is considered that the proposed development is substantially in accordance with the relevant planning policy and the recommendation is that of conditional consent.”

Heart of Wales Property Services (HOWPS) officers said: ‘In order to attract new tenants to occupy the building, the units and associated services and facilities in the building need to be upgraded or modified to ensure they offer amenities appropriate to the intended occupants and users of the building.

The council received £1.585 million from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns scheme for the project.

At a meeting in February, Llandrindod Wells City Council backed the project.

The Automobile Palace is a Grade II* (star) listed building and is considered an example of an exceptionally old two-storey, steel-framed, grated building, standing out as a fine example of the architecture of the 20th century in the city.

The name of its creator, Tom Norton, is still inscribed on its facade.

Mr Norton opened a bicycle shop in the Old Market Hall on the High Street in 1899, near the station.

At the turn of the 20th century, he turned to motorcycles and cars.

In 1911 he built as it was then called the Sports Palace at a cost of around £11,000.

Architect Wellington Thomas designed the building and it had a capacity of 80 cars in 11,056 square feet.

The building was expanded to three times its previous size in the same style.

The two-story building had nine bays, an art deco facade, 22 lions, shields, and egg- and dart-shaped molded cornices.

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