Plans approved for art studio at Ragamuffins in Pontypool

PLANS for the conversion of the second floor of the former Barclay’s Bank in Pontypool into an art or photography studio have been approved.

The listed building is now Ragamuffins Emporium, which sells antique and retro wares and furniture.

Owners Allun and Nichola Davies have recently completed a refurbishment of the building’s first floor, which includes the addition of a vintage tea room.

And on February 3, Torfaen Council approved plans to commission the second floor as well.

The former Barclays Bank in Pontypool – pictured here before Ragamuffins moved in – is a listed building.

Mr Davies said he hoped the second floor rooms could be used as an art or photography studio.

“We were originally hoping to do both floors, but due to Covid restrictions we couldn’t get an extension to the schedule so we had to reduce it to the first floor – with the vintage tea room”, did he declare.

But given that the Welsh Government then authorized extensions to planning applications delayed by the pandemic, and with funding still approved for the initial plan to refurbish the two floors, an application was submitted.

“It brings the other pieces of the building into play,” Mr Davies said.

“There are two other rooms for the emporium, and one of the other rooms will be a dedicated props room.

“We’ve done things in the past with community groups and local schools and the Congress Theater.

“It means we can put stuff out there and use it to give back to the community.”

South Wales Argus: Nichola and Allun Davies, owners of Ragamuffins Emporium.Nichola and Allun Davies, owners of the Ragamuffins Emporium.

A heritage report, produced after the plans were submitted, said: “Overall these changes will enhance the significance of the heritage property both in terms of the special character of the listed building and its contribution to the character of the area. ”

The request was approved, subject to conditions.

Work must be completed within five years, replacement windows must be painted with oil-based primer, undercoat and gloss white, and no vents, exterior lights, alarms or additional satellite dishes cannot be attached to the building.

“We are very excited,” Mr. Davies said. “We hope to do this by the end of March or the beginning of April.”

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