PLANS to revamp Cardigan’s historic Markethall have suffered a big setback after a funding application was turned down.

But campaigners behind the £1.7m project have vowed to fight on in a bid to save the ambitious scheme.

Cardigan Building Preservation Trust had hoped to benefit from a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund but it has now learned that its bid for funding has been unsuccessful.

And that also puts a further pot of European money of around £1m, which has been pledged as part of a match-funding agreement, in the balance.

Plans to revamp the Grade II* listed building, which is owned by Ceredigion County Council, had gone on show last year and been warmly received.

The major changes to the building would be at the rear, providing a new access block and lift to all levels, while also getting rid of the 1950s staircase in the centre of the Markethall.

But now any work, which had been due to start this month, has been put on hold as alternative funding avenues are explored but time is not on the project organisers’ side.

Preservation Trust secretary Lindsay Sheen said: “It is very disappointing but we have not given up and we are still keen to see the project go ahead.

“We are working together with the county council and the European body to see if we can find alternative funding to fill the gap.

“But there is a limit on the amount of time these funds have attached to them and we probably have a couple of months to come up with an answer.

“It is such an important building in Cardigan and the traders there and the town deserve the scheme to go ahead.”

Cardigan deputy mayor Cllr Clive Davies said: “This is an unique building in Wales and one of the gems of Cardigan that is so central to attracting more people to the town.

“It is important we keep fighting to get the funding and realise the dreams for the building.”