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More funding for eco-friendly features at Llandaff centre

LLANDAFF 50+ has received a grant of £5,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund Wales to go towards planning and eco-friendly features for a community centre. 

The local community group is planning to covert the old public toilets on Llandaff High Street into an activity centre for the over 50s. 

The toilets, which have been closed since 2015, are in a medieval cattle pound next to Bishop’s Castle which dates from the 13th Century. 

The pound’s courtyard extends to Bishop’s Castle’s 13th century walls

Due to the heritage of the site, Llandaff 50+ will carry out an archaeological dig and a bat survey before it submits a planning application to Cardiff Council later this year. 

Tim Young, a teaching associate at Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion, will lead the dig some time this spring.  

“I do not anticipate a very large or prolonged excavation, but since the builders will need details of the present nature of the ground below the paving, it makes sense to undertake that investigation with a view to trying to learn about the archaeology at the same time,” said Dr Young. 

Llandaff 50+ is keen to get the community involved in the dig, and a project coordinator hopes local schools will participate. 

Dr Young said: “The site is potentially of significance for two reasons. Firstly, it immediately adjoins the curtain wall of the Bishops’ Castle. The castle was built in the late 13th century as a residence for the Bishops of Llandaff and is a Scheduled Monument.  

“The second interest in the site is that for a long time this area was the Llandaff pound.” 

Llandaff 50+ will also be holding a bat survey later this year to assess whether there are any bats living there.  They are a protected species and must not be disturbed by any building work. 

The money received from the National Lottery Community Fund will also go towards making the new community centre eco-friendly. 

Llandaff 50+ is going to install solar panels, bat boxes and water harvesting to source water for gardening sessions. 

Another obstacle at the ancient site is the presence of a Western Power Distribution substation.

The substation is currently next to the walls of Bishop’s Castle and blocking any attempt at maintenance.

Western Power’s substation which is preventing maintenance work on Bishop’s Castle’s walls

Western Power are going to reduce the size of the substation while work is being done to the old toilets, which will allow essential maintenance of the wall to be carried out.

The group have already secured a £200,000 grant from the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities Programme and £3,000 from the Cardiff YMCA.

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