Aimed at restoring the protection offered by previous Grade 3 Listing, the former South Glamorgan County Council had initiated a policy designed to oppose speculative demolition and redevelopment by awarding “County Treasures” status to buildings of architectural or historical importance in the context of their settings.
This was an exercise organised and executed by the Council with the help of local expertise. The final results were recorded in a document which became readily available for decision-making in planning applications.
In 2001 the Vale of Glamorgan Council, having been unsuccessful in acquiring a Heritage Lottery Grant for updating the original list, called a meeting with leaders of the Civic Trust for Wales, the Vale of Glamorgan Buildings Preservation Trust and Penarth Civic Society to look for support in achieving their aim. All were asked whether their organisations would be willing to take on this project. Unfortunately the Civic Trust and the Preservation Trust declined, leaving Audrey Poole, the leader of the Civic Society, who was also a Trustee of the other two organisations, to feel she had to accept the challenge. No opportunity to discuss it with the Committee or with members – it just had to be done! And that is how Penarth Civic Society became involved in the County Treasures Project.
This time, the responsibility would be delegated to leaders of the 28 Parish Councils to research and record the buildings they thought were especially important in their own locations.
Here is the declaration of intent:
“The Penarth Society, as a representative of the Civic Trust for Wales, is partnering the Vale of Glamorgan Council in a Review of County Treasures – i.e. buildings of special architectural significance in the area – first recorded by the former South Glamorgan County Council. Many of these buildings have changed over the years and the aim is to bring the list up to date.
The two leading organisations are supported in the project by Town and Community Councils, the Vale of Glamorgan Buildings Preservation Trust and other environmental and historical organisations.
A steering group representing the four main centres of the Vale: Barry, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth, has been set up and hopes to use initial funding from Cadw and other sources to fund a project co-ordinator.
The first task will be to photograph all the existing Treasures, perhaps adding others along the way, in preparation for having this material transferred to CD Rom for use in schools and libraries throughout the County: a valuable educational resource. The Civic Trust for Wales is currently working with the National Assembly to raise the profile of the Built Environment and would like to see it incorporated into the school syllabus as a subject in its own right.
This must be the first time all areas of the Vale have come together in a common project and it is a tribute to individuals’ dedication and goodwill that it is happening today. When people are willing to share expertise and resources in this way, the exercise deserves to succeed."
The full document can be viewed on the Vale of Glamorgan website