Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is seeking a team of top consultants to prepare a strategic Masterplan for a visitor attraction of international quality based on the town’s pivotal role in the industrial revolution.
The multi-million pound development will centre on Cyfarthfa Castle and its 77-hectare park, once the home of the Crawshay family, ironmasters who helped turn Merthyr Tydfil into the world’s largest centre of iron production in the 19th century.
The tender published this week envisages a 12-month masterplanning exercise for a development that has already been designated by the Welsh Government as a key gateway for its proposed South Wales Valleys Regional Park.
The concept is based on proposals set out in the Crucible report by the Design Commission for Wales following a design charrette in 2017. The charrette brought together more than 60 people – design specialists, museum and heritage experts and community organisations – to brainstorm ideas for the area. The report, which was accepted unanimously by the Council in 2018, proposed the investment of more than £50million to create a centre of national importance.
The report concluded:
“The town’s rich store of heritage assets offers a unique opportunity to achieve the coherence and impact that Merthyr deserves. With bold vision those assets could yet stamp themselves on public consciousness in a way that befits the town as a place of regional, national and international significance.”
In parallel to the masterplan project, a separate timeline and project plan addresses the process of establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), a subsidiary company. It is intended that it will seek charitable status and be operational before the Masterplan is delivered.
The Council is seeking to appoint a design-led team to produce a visionary strategic masterplan for the development of the industrial, landscape and heritage assets of the Cyfarthfa estate, as well as other heritage assets in the town.
The creative, multi-layered masterplan will identify and define the brief for the central visitor attraction and a number of related projects that will be developed over the coming years. The outcome will play an important role in setting a standard for design excellence in future development. It will capture imaginations to attract investment and visitor numbers and maintain local support.
Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Gareth Chapman said:
“The publication of this tender is a crucially important milestone on the road to realising our ambitious vision for Cyfarthfa and the whole town. We are determined that this will be a project of the highest quality. I hope it will engage the interest of the best talents in the country and beyond to help us reach our goal.”
Design Commission for Wales Chief Executive Carole-Anne Davies said:
“Merthyr Tydfil has every reason to expect quality and creativity of an international standard. Cyfarthfa and its environs have a history of globally significant innovation. There is every opportunity to recast that history with renewed ambition, to capture public imagination and galvanise new visitors to Merthyr Tydfil and the wider region.”
Consultant to the Design Commission Geraint Talfan Davies said:
“We have to ensure that a scheme of this magnitude and scope is built on the surest foundations. This Masterplan exercise will enable us to assess the potential of all the pieces in the jigsaw so that, together, they can do justice to the importance of Merthyr Tydfil’s story and excite future generations.”
Note: Bidders for this work will have to submit their applications by 17 May, 2019 with a decision expected later early in July. The work will then take a further 12 months